Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pointing the Way

This roadside weed is named Compass Plant for its leaves that are turned sideways and seem to point directions like those signposts in cartoons. It can grow to seven feet high, according to my trusty "Beginner's Guide to Wild Flowers," by Ethel Hinckley Hausman.

This book was my constant companion on walks with the children when we lived alongside the Raritan River in New Brunswick and later in the Possumtown section of Piscataway. We also lived near the Great Swamp in Morris County for a time and found many special wild flowers on the byroads of what what then Passaic Township.

But even in the big city, there are lots of wildflower treasures to find in vacant lots, parks and ungroomed curbsides.

Here's close-up of a single flower on a Compass Plant at the edge of Municipal Parking Lot 7.

--Bernice Paglia


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