Sunday, May 8, 2016

Woodland “Not So” Wild Flowers …



In roughly the same vain as the last posting, this one is a little less on the wild side, so speaking. Over the years many bought flowers and shrubberies have been planted here and some have forestalled the ravages of the herbivore grazing by means of being tender less, noxious, or simply not pleasing to grazing palate.

Iris seems to be one the plants given too toxic compounds in the roots, leaves, and stems in the forms of irisin, iridin, and irisine. And while considered mildly or potentially toxic it would seem the grazers sense such possibility and steer themselves clear of our iris plantings. More iris please.


I have known of Rhododendrons poisonous nature form my early childhood. As a young woodland explorer my Grandmothers warned of this plant which grew drifts that could cover miles and along with their toxicity getting lost in the tangle of branches was a real and present possibility. I recall on more than one occasion search and rescue being called upon to find hunters lost in the expanses. The toxins associated with rhododendron are andromedotoxin, acetylandromedol and rhodotoxin, all sounding like wonderful apocalyptic movie villains. Of note here, the pictured rhododendron was purchased shrubbery but there are many wild one growing in the woods here and when they come into flower will be appearing here in a post.


And finally we have the Peony on our list of plants the grazers shy away from. A garden staple, the peonies roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds contain the toxin paeonol. I had apparently been garden under a misconception when I first introduced these heirloom peonies into the garden some years ago. I thought they would soon become a favorite menu item on the deer and rabbit salad bar I had seemed to be planting thus far. And yet here today they are happily full of buds. But again these are from decades old heirloom stock which might account for their longevity in the our woodland home garden.



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