Forage Friday #104 Garlic Mustard.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

A warm golden glow filters through the budding forest as I carefully positioned myself on the thin berm of the road. I’m trying to find the best angle for photographing the Honeybees as they lovingly work the wild geraniums when I become slightly unbalanced. When I widen my stance for stability I accidentally crush a plant beneath my foot and the strong oder of garlic fills the àir. Then I noticed that I’m standing in a mixed blessing. I’m surrounded by garlic mustard.

I choose the phrase “mixed blessing” carefully. Garlic Mustard is one of a number plants brought to the New Word on purpose by colonists. We have to remember that in those days there really wasn’t a concept of invasive species. They only saw this plant as a strong herb with great value as food and medicine. It’s native to Europe and a faithful garden companion. It hardly ever fails to grow and therefore was worthy of being counted on. All parts of the plant are edible and studies have shown that it’s got a very high nutritional density. One of the presenters I listened to while researching this article commented that it’s the most nutritional wild plant they’ve ever studied. It can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor is of course garlicky and depending on soil quality can be slightly bitter. My instincts are that when it’s bitter it’s probably got more medicinal values that we’ll look at later.

Garlic mustard outperforms garden greens like spinach and Swiss chard in fiber, vitamin A, B-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, Manganese, copper, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Genetic studies indicate that the garlic mustard found in my part of the Appalachian Mountains is descendant from varieties found in the British Islands.

You’ll find a myriad of dishes online that have garlic mustard as a basic ingredient. The most popular seems to be pesto. The basic pesto calls for finely chopped garlic mustard leaves, pine nuts ( sometimes English Walnut) one garlic clove, lemon juice, olive oil and sugar. Because there’s so many recipes out there I recommend pulling a few up and getting the specific proportions and variations to find one that suits you.

Other foods that are suggested for including wildcrafted garlic mustard are mashed potatoes, carrots, stews, quinoa, salad and vinaigrette salad dressing.

The traditional medical uses include, anti asthma, antiseptic, expelling worms, used to promote healthy sweating, treat bronchitis, as a poultice for ulcers and to alleviate bites and stings of insects.

But if all the benefits of garlic mustard aren’t enough for you go out and pull a few garlic mustard plants from your favorite trail let me take a moment to explain why garlic mustard is a bad thing.

In previous articles I’ve mentioned the relationship between symbiotic soil fungi and the health of the forest. Sadly, garlic mustard actively kills not only the symbiotic fungus but the herbs that it’s bonded to and even the trees. It’s one of those plants that exudes a suppressive chemical through its roots and native North American species have no defense against it. One of the herbs that are killed by this is our native trilliums. But the loss of the symbiotic fungus is what concerns me the most. The fungus is the communication network between all plants in the forest. It’s literally like the internet just like was portrayed in the movie Avatar. Very old trees act as data nodes storing environmental information in the form of chemicals stored in the wood. Even old stumps that seem to have been long dead are tapped by the fungus to extract the chemical sequence and teach the younger trees and herbs how to deal with changes in the environment. For a basic explanation here’s a quick video that gives a concise overview.

When garlic mustard breaks this connection it actually harms the forest in the whole surrounding area. And a garlic mustard infestation can last for thirty years before the cycle ends naturally. The recovery of the fungus and connection to old growth forest is bound to take at least as long after the garlic mustard is gone.

Image Titled “West Virginia White 42820”. Clicking the image takes you to the original article I published on April 28th 2020.

Pictured above is West Virginia’s own rare butterfly, the West Virginia White. This little butterfly has had a rough time since industrialization. Heavy logging in the early 20th century had nearly destroyed all of its habit and was once predicted to be the first Eastern species to go extinct. It’s natural native host plant is the native mustards such as Collards. The butterfly will lay its eggs and when they hatch the Caterpillar feeds on the collards. Until garlic mustard came along. Whatever chemical signal that the West Virginia White Butterfly uses to find collards is stronger in the garlic mustard. But it’s a trap. Garlic mustard also produces a substance that’s toxic to the West Virginia White Butterfly and is 100% fatal to the caterpillars. Removal of garlic mustard from your property is essential for the survival of the West Virginia White.

So to sum it all up, foraging on garlic mustard provides you with a plant that’s still grown in some Asian and European gardens, has a higher nutritional value than a lot of domestic greens, helps fight deforestation and increases the health of the environment and helps preserve the West Virginia White Butterfly.

One last thought. Garlic Mustard is a biannual and most removal programs recommended allowing the first year plants to grow and harvesting in the second year after the flowers bloom but before the seeds mature. This should prevent the next generation and in just a few short years the cycle is broken.

A closer look at the cross shaped garlic mustard flowers and the deeply veined leaves.

That’s it for this week’s Forage Friday. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

A Return To Sunshine

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Drink Deeply 80520” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

I have a secret to share with you. To put it bluntly, I am a time traveler. If I close my eyes and build in details the memory of any day in my life time as we know it becomes irrelevant. And I don’t know about you but I am in the mood for a sunny day.

I wake up to sound of the mockingbird in the elm just outside my window. His long series of borrowed chirps an whistles at daybreak invite me to come out and feel the dew in the grass. A good heavy dew on a morning like this promises no rain. At least not today. Golden rays of sunshine wash through the canopy of mixed hardwoods and highlight what I’ve come to call my hibiscus forest. The sweet scent of the flowers being warmed by the sun draws my neighbors from their hiding places and soon the bees and butterflies are all around me skillfully avoiding mid air collisions with each other and dodging crash landings on my head. A particular Pipevine Swallowtail claims the flower next to me as her very own and after a few minutes of grooming the bloom with fluttering wings she dives headfirst to bottom only emerging to groom the flower once more. Finally after being convinced that she had gotten every last drop she pops into the air and playfully works her way to the next bush. And being refreshed myself I too must leave the hibiscus forest and return to current times.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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Pause For A Moment And Appreciate The Comma Butterfly

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Comma Butterfly 100620a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The October sun reaches its zenith as the big blue truck rolls to a stop on Muddlety Creek. Running errands has become a bit of a double duty for me. It’s a chance to to get off my mountain and get some variety of scenery. I’ve come to the spot where the old barn slowly fades into the past. I fear that the end is near for her but I digress. If the mind has an eye that shows us worlds just beyond perception then the heart has an ear that listens to the story of those worlds. The old barn speaks in whispers so your heart has to open wide to hear her. As I tuned my heart to listen to the old barn I distinctly heard a different voice giggling playfully. The giggle came from a dead leaf off to my left and was causing the barn to pause her story. I lowered my lens and before I could take a step to see what this giggler was up to the wings slowly opened to reveal the beautiful orange colored wings of Wood Nymph Butterfly. Abandoning her perfect perch on a twig she launched herself my direction and circled my head before landing at my feet and displaying her magnificent wings. Her pattern was nearly identical to her cousin the Question Mark Butterfly. “Are you a.. Comma Butterfly?” I asked softly. The butterfly slowly folded her wings and revealed that identifying mark.

Image Titled “Comma Butterfly 100620a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

She couldn’t couldn’t help but to cause a pause in the conversation between the old barn and I. After all, she is a Comma Butterfly.

While the Patty Duke Show is a little before my time I had heard the theme song and while looking at the pictures of the two butterflies that song kept playing in my head.

So let’s take a look at two and how we can tell them apart.

I’ll start with a blown up version of the underside of the Comma Butterfly wing.

Comma Butterfly wing details

The Comma Butterfly had a mottled brown pattern underneath where the pattern of the Question Mark Butterfly was bluish Grey but that color may not be consistent in all individuals. It’s very possible that the tone may vary like hair color but I hadn’t really looked that deep. The one thing that the guides agree on is the silvery spots. In the Question Mark Butterfly this spot is followed by a silver dot that forms the “?”. Comma Butterflies never have the dot. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture of the underside of the Question Mark Butterfly but there’s plenty of examples online.

The upper side of forewing has a distinctive mark as well as seen on the next image.

The top butterly is a Comma Butterfly. The wing pattern has three black dots in a row. The other marks might be different from one individual to the next but a Comma Butterfly always has just three dots. The bottom image is from last night’s post and shows the Question Mark Butterfly. The Question Mark Butterfly will have the three dots but is always followed by a fourth elongated mark near the margin. I also noticed that the Question Mark Butterfly is lighter in color but again that could be individual genetics and not a difference between species. The information I have immediate access to is pretty basic and doesn’t really go beyond the dots on top and the silvery spots underneath. As I mentioned before they are both Wood Nymph Butterflies as is the silver spotted skipper I featured throughout the Summer. I’m not sure if they are specifically cool weather Butterflies or not but they do seem to have more fur than the Swallowtail Butterflies I see the most of.

Running into a Comma Butterfly so soon after the Question Mark Butterfly was really fortunate. They were about 15 miles apart. The Question Mark Butterfly was near Summersville Lake and the Coma Butterfly was near the edge of the marsh. Both were on the edge of woodlands which is something else that the guides agree on.

So as the season continues to change keep an eye on those ragged edged dead leaves. One just might open up and come to life in brilliant colors.

That’s it for tonight. Be blessed throughout your day friends!

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

The Lady Of Mystery I Met In The Park

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Question Mark Butterfly 92920a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The warm autumn light filters down through the contact changing leaves as my big blue truck ebbs its way into the little round about. This was a homestead more than 50 years ago but today it’s a maintenance shed in the park. I hadn’t been there in thirty years though I had passed by it on a regular basis. Today however, I was drawn by a wondering if there was anything left of the former structure. There wasn’t, just a shed for the crews that maintain the park and campground. But my instincts bid me to linger just a little. I stopped the truck and rolled the windows down to listen for birds that might be just out of sight. As my eyes swept through the bushes and trees a dead leaf dropped from a branch and burst forth in a blaze of orange. She landed on the side of a tree as if drawn by a magnet. The body was the color and texture of moss and her fiery wings bore the hue of a turning leaf. And yet a mere moment earlier she was mottled and gray and perfectly camouflaged as a dead leaf. Had I noticed in time to focus in on the underside of the wing I may have been able to see the silvery spots that form a question mark. These are the markings that give the Question Mark Butterfly it’s name. In true “lady of mystery” fashion she flattened her wings and held them tightly against the bark.

Can we peer into the mystery and find answers to her question? The answer is yes. Yes we can. As it turns out her display of color and even her position on the tree was not for my benefit.

First, there are two types of Butterfly with almost identical markings. The Question Mark Butterfly and the Comma Butterfly. But with the punctuation mark under the wing and against the tree how do we know which one we have? Both butterflies have 3 dots near the edge of the forewing but only the Question Mark Butterfly has the fourth elongated mark on the outside. The Comma Butterfly also lacks the dot of a question mark on the silvery spots underneath.

The odd position she landed on the tree wasn’t by chance. The female Question Mark Butterfly displays herself in this inverted position in order to attract a mate. And unlike other butterflies she does not lay her eggs directly onto a host plant. Her children will have to go look for their own food as soon as they hatch. Fortunately for the Question Mark Butterfly children their diets are not as limited as other butterflies and they have a few more options on menu.

Image Titled “Question Mark Butterfly 92920b” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

After a few minutes of of trying to get just the right photos I did decide to back off and allow her to continue trying to get her boyfriend’s attention. Three is a crowd and I want more butterflies in this park next year.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

The Closing Of The Season

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Summer Azure 90820” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Where the warm breeze ends the tiny wings find their prize. The tall lanky plant with irregular pedals and spiked ball flowers welcomes the little visitor in the waning days of its season. The feeding session has the appearance of an embrace as the little blue butterfly clings gently to it’s host and accepts the sweet gift generated from within the flower’s depths. The shadow of the mountains grows subtly longer with each sunset. With each cool morning it takes the butterflies longer to warm up and begin their work of visiting the blooms and spreading joy. And yet the little Summer Azure is undeterred and performs it’s duty with a look of satisfaction. In it’s contentment the final secret is revealed that the last drop of nectar was the sweetest.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!