Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 37
Opposite page: When the sun shines on columbines, their fine texture
soaks up the light, causing them to become almost luminescent and
looking as if they are interestingly shaped Japanese lanterns saturated
with rich, hand-painted water colors.
Top left: Often called by its genus name penstemmon (referring to the
five stamens), this flower is only one inch long, so you'll have to look
closely to find the one stamen thickly covered in minute hairs, giving
the plant its common name, gray beardtongue.
Above: Despite some people mistaking Indian pipe for a fungus, it is a
flowering plant. To me, its most striking features are its translucent
white color and intricate shape, reminiscent of a fancily carved
Left: White clintonia's striking 10-inch leaves and clusters of flowers
don't make an appearance until the leaf canopy begins to provide some
shade. Later in summer, the flowers are replaced by clusters of blue
berries, once used to make a rich-colored dye.
March/April 2018 37