In the past couple of years I have undergone a major migration, moving from Hawaii to the eastern seaboard and then up to New England. There are the obvious differences between the two places, such as weather and the amount of palms. One of the largest contrasts that I’ve felt is in the pace of every day life. Hawaii is known for its laid back and welcoming attitudes, while New England has a reputation for being focused and productive to the point of being a bit frenzied.
These traits persist in other aspects of life such as the rapid change of seasons found in the North East. As our team works closely with the plants in this area, it is easy to imagine how the swift passage of time (in this case the fruiting times of plants) motivates people to act with alacrity, knowing that it common to have things come and go very quickly.
In Hawaii the seasons (yes, there are seasons) are gentle and seem to linger a lot longer, whereas any missed opportunities in collecting plants north east means it will be another year before you can get another chance. As we move into crunch time with many different types of plants producing seeds we are feeling the pressure, trying to not to let any species slip past our notice.
One of the species that made this very clear was the Silky Dogwood (Swida amomum), this shrub is very common along wet edges and we have seen it frequently. It is a robust plant that has been requested for several dam removal projects. In the past three trips, the fruit ripened into a beautiful blue color and we started to collect gallon bags full of seeds. With the passing of each week the seeds seemed harder to find in large quantities, and I’m expecting that last week was our final collection of this species for the season.
It is possible we will find other populations that are fruiting a bit later than others and perhaps we will see more as we travel to states further south, but it is likely this species is done fruiting in our area.
Swida amomum, it was a pleasure working with you this year and I look forward to doing it again in 2016!