Sunday, October 29, 2006

Aconitum carmichaelii and signs of life vanished

At the end of October, I've found three colonies of Aconitum carmichaelii in bloom on the roadside within two miles of our home. Two seem to have been planted many years ago as ornamentals on the grounds of an impressive prerevolutionary stone house on Strimples Mill Road. The third is on Federal Twist Road, apparently near the location of an old homestead, now vanished.

Surviving non-native plants are signs of former habitation throughout this area, and set the mind to thinking of the unknowable history that has passed here - the Lenape people, who must have used the nearby Lockatong Creek as a resource for living and hunted these woods, the ancient stone rows that show this inhospitable land must once have been farmed, though with great difficulty, the wives, almost certainly they were wives, who planted wisteria and monkshood and who knows what else?

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