Choke Cherry: Prunus virginiana

While the last blossoms of the Choke Cherry shrubs, which line the road near our home, have faded away their sweet smell still lingers in my head. Most of June was filled with that sweet smell as different bushes bloomed at different times of the month and thus we were treated to a wonderful progression of fragrance and sights.

The astringent fruits and even the leaves and branches of the Choke Cherry are considered an important food plant for wildlife. Both large and small mammals as well as birds utilize Choke Cherry for food. In addition to food Choke Cherry provides wildlife habitat and protection for watershed in the areas in which it grows.

Human uses include Chokecherry Jams, wine as well a medicinal uses by native cultures. New growth on the leaves can be toxic to humans and cattle especially those leaves injured by frost or draught. So do not eat the leaves.

While the fruits are quite useful it is always the blossoms that take the cake for me and somehow posting on Choke Cherry seems a fitting thing to do on the forth of July.

References:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
United States Department of Agriculture.

Mid-Winter Break

Although the calendar says otherwise the third week of January always feels like mid-winter to me. Yes, the cold and snow will hang for a few months, maybe more, there is just something about this time that portends a turning point somewhere deep inside.

So today it’s time to take a break and remember that sweet summer air will return again.

Forest Light: Winter

Forest_light

Winter light shining brightly onto the remains of a once mighty redwood. I am fascinated by the light that is able to creep into the forest and how it changes with the seasons. This light in the dark always seems so difficult to capture and the photos never seem to evoke the feeling of being there. Perhaps some things are better left alone or maybe a fool that persists in his folly will someday take that magic photo.