My Back Yard - Spring Flowers - May Apple Blossom on Flickr.
My Back Yard - Spring Flowers - May Apple BlossomPodophyllum peltatum, commonly called Mayapple, or May Apple, (a.k.a. hogapple, Indian apple, mayflower, umbrella plant, wild lemon, wild mandrake, American mandrake or “devil’s apple”) is a herbaceous perennial, native to deciduous forests of eastern North America. It emerges from below ground before the tree canopy leafs out overhead and filters out all the sun, and then goes dormant later in the summer after bearing fruit. It is the flower that appears in early May, not the “apple”. The fruit or “apple” ripens later in summer. The stems grow to 30–40 cm tall (a little over a foot), usually with 2 or occasionally 3 palmately lobed leaves up to 20–30 cm diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes on reproductive individuals, or one peltate (umbrella-like) leaf on sterile individuals. A single white flower, usually with six petals, is produced at the axil of the two leaves which hangs almost out of sight beneath the plants leafy canopy. The flower matures into a yellow-greenish fruit reminiscent of a small green crab apple . The plant is widespread and appears in clonal colonies in open woodlands. As with many kinds of wild plants, the flower provides sexual reproduction and long distance dispersal, while the rhizome provides asexual reproduction and the formation of dense circular clones. The totally ripened fruit which forms from the May Apple blossom is edible and is said to make a pretty good jam or jelly if properly prepared. The last I looked it was still not part of the Smucker catalog, probably with good reason. However, the unripened fruit and all other parts of the plant (rhizome, foliage, roots and seed) are poisonous at worst and cathartic (look it up) at best. May Apple contains podophyllotoxin, a cytostatic, and is used topically in the treatment of viral and genital warts as well an ingredient in a couple of cancer treatment drugs. PetPoisonHelpline.com says that podopyllotoxin is easily absorbed through tissue. When pets accidentally ingest or ‘contact’ this plant, May Apple can result in both gastrointestinal (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, drooling) and dermal irritation. My dogs and cats have walked through, on, under, but never around large clones of it on a daily basis for years—all spring and summer—and have never shown any noticeable ill effects. I have never seen my pets nibble or dig in the areas of these plants. However, death has been known to occur in animals such as wild boar that dig up and eat the highly toxic roots. I have no pigs.

My Back Yard - Spring Flowers - May Apple Blossom on Flickr.

My Back Yard - Spring Flowers - May Apple Blossom

Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called Mayapple, or May Apple, (a.k.a. hogapple, Indian apple, mayflower, umbrella plant, wild lemon, wild mandrake, American mandrake or “devil’s apple”) is a herbaceous perennial, native to deciduous forests of eastern North America. It emerges from below ground before the tree canopy leafs out overhead and filters out all the sun, and then goes dormant later in the summer after bearing fruit. It is the flower that appears in early May, not the “apple”. The fruit or “apple” ripens later in summer.

The stems grow to 30–40 cm tall (a little over a foot), usually with 2 or occasionally 3 palmately lobed leaves up to 20–30 cm diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes on reproductive individuals, or one peltate (umbrella-like) leaf on sterile individuals. A single white flower, usually with six petals, is produced at the axil of the two leaves which hangs almost out of sight beneath the plants leafy canopy. The flower matures into a yellow-greenish fruit reminiscent of a small green crab apple . The plant is widespread and appears in clonal colonies in open woodlands. As with many kinds of wild plants, the flower provides sexual reproduction and long distance dispersal, while the rhizome provides asexual reproduction and the formation of dense circular clones.

The totally ripened fruit which forms from the May Apple blossom is edible and is said to make a pretty good jam or jelly if properly prepared. The last I looked it was still not part of the Smucker catalog, probably with good reason. However, the unripened fruit and all other parts of the plant (rhizome, foliage, roots and seed) are poisonous at worst and cathartic (look it up) at best. May Apple contains podophyllotoxin, a cytostatic, and is used topically in the treatment of viral and genital warts as well an ingredient in a couple of cancer treatment drugs.

PetPoisonHelpline.com says that podopyllotoxin is easily absorbed through tissue. When pets accidentally ingest or ‘contact’ this plant, May Apple can result in both gastrointestinal (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, drooling) and dermal irritation. My dogs and cats have walked through, on, under, but never around large clones of it on a daily basis for years—all spring and summer—and have never shown any noticeable ill effects. I have never seen my pets nibble or dig in the areas of these plants. However, death has been known to occur in animals such as wild boar that dig up and eat the highly toxic roots. I have no pigs.

My Back Yard - Spring Flowers - "May Apple Blossom, Bashful of its own Beauty"

Mesopotamia Township, Civil War Memorial. “Brigden’s Eagle” on Flickr.
Mesopotamia Township, Civil War Memorial. “Brigden’s Eagle” Mesopotamia Civil War Memorial Center of Commons at Ohio Rt. 87 & Ohio Rt 534 Mesopotamia Twp., Trumbull County, Ohio, USA Between the end of the Civil War and 1869, eight Ohio cities and towns erected monuments celebrating the sacrifice of valiant civil war soldiers from their communities. Seven of the eight were located in northeast Ohio, the home of Ohio’s most vocal and active abolitionists. Seven of these early monuments have eagles as their decorative element. Howard Brigden carved the beautiful marble eagle that sits atop the 1867 monument at the end of the Commons in Mesopotamia, Trumbull County. This Civil War monument, featuring an eagle on a sphere atop a tall shaft, was dedicated in 1867, in an event that nearly 2,000 area residents attended. The monument was sculpted by Walter Supple and Howard Brigden. Brigden carved the eagle with spread wings that tops the memorial.
Howard A. Brigden (1841-1913), a native of Mesopotamia and self-taught artist is also responsible for many of the wonderful memorials still seen in Fair View Cemetary in Mespo.

Mesopotamia Township, Civil War Memorial. “Brigden’s Eagle” on Flickr.

Mesopotamia Township, Civil War Memorial. “Brigden’s Eagle”
Mesopotamia Civil War Memorial
Center of Commons at Ohio Rt. 87 & Ohio Rt 534
Mesopotamia Twp.,
Trumbull County, Ohio, USA

Between the end of the Civil War and 1869, eight Ohio cities and towns erected monuments celebrating the sacrifice of valiant civil war soldiers from their communities. Seven of the eight were located in northeast Ohio, the home of Ohio’s most vocal and active abolitionists. Seven of these early monuments have eagles as their decorative element. Howard Brigden carved the beautiful marble eagle that sits atop the 1867 monument at the end of the Commons in Mesopotamia, Trumbull County.

This Civil War monument, featuring an eagle on a sphere atop a tall shaft, was dedicated in 1867, in an event that nearly 2,000 area residents attended. The monument was sculpted by Walter Supple and Howard Brigden. Brigden carved the eagle with spread wings that tops the memorial.

Howard A. Brigden (1841-1913), a native of Mesopotamia and self-taught artist is also responsible for many of the wonderful memorials still seen in Fair View Cemetary in Mespo.

Fairview Cemetery, Mesopotamia Township - "Dog Who Waits For His Master"

Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm, Acid-Mine Drainage (AMD) on Flickr.
Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm, Acid-Mine Drainage (AMD)Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm Site in North Lima, OhioRed-tailed hawks circle the fields above the Mushroom Farm on sunless day looking for prey below.
Eastern Ohio is home to over 1,000 abandoned underground mines (AUM), mostly from coal production, which began more than 200 years ago. This Mushroom Farm site, located in North Lima, Ohio is plagued with acid mine drainage (AMD) resulting from surface mining conducted in the 1980’s and an AUM from the late 1800’s.

Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm, Acid-Mine Drainage (AMD) on Flickr.

Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm, Acid-Mine Drainage (AMD)
Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm Site in North Lima, Ohio

Red-tailed hawks circle the fields above the Mushroom Farm on sunless day looking for prey below.

Eastern Ohio is home to over 1,000 abandoned underground mines (AUM), mostly from coal production, which began more than 200 years ago. This Mushroom Farm site, located in North Lima, Ohio is plagued with acid mine drainage (AMD) resulting from surface mining conducted in the 1980’s and an AUM from the late 1800’s.

Ohio Valley Mushroom Farm, Acid-Mine Drainage (AMD)

Robin - “Scarf” on Flickr.
Sign of Spring. “Scarf”Meet Scarf, a male Robin (Turdus migratorious) that has returned to my back yard for a couple of years now. I call him “Scarf” because of the swath of gray feathers that extends from his neck down into his right breast. I’ve not seen that growth pattern on any other robin, but don’t know if it’s at all uncommon.
Here he’s showing off  some unlucky insect — as if to say, “Don’t you wish you has some of this.”
I’ve read that robins rarely live more than two or three years — so this may be the last Spring I will have had to enjoy both him and his enthusiastic chant — “cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheer-up, cheerily.”
“Turdus” by the way is Latin for ‘thrush’ — lest you think it some scatological reference or even a “Dr. Who” acronynm — that’s ‘TARDIS.’

Robin - “Scarf” on Flickr.

Sign of Spring. “Scarf”

Meet Scarf, a male Robin (Turdus migratorious) that has returned to my back yard for a couple of years now. I call him “Scarf” because of the swath of gray feathers that extends from his neck down into his right breast. I’ve not seen that growth pattern on any other robin, but don’t know if it’s at all uncommon.

Here he’s showing off  some unlucky insect — as if to say, “Don’t you wish you has some of this.”

I’ve read that robins rarely live more than two or three years — so this may be the last Spring I will have had to enjoy both him and his enthusiastic chant — “cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheer-up, cheerily.”

“Turdus” by the way is Latin for ‘thrush’ — lest you think it some scatological reference or even a “Dr. Who” acronynm — that’s ‘TARDIS.’