22 Jun Going into the Fifth Week and Juneteenth
Self-quarantine is over!!! It has been over for over two weeks. I was so excited to finally be out in the field. I am finally able to look at a couple of different invasive species and tell them apart. It finally all doesn’t look the same to me. I’m always amazed when looking at parks/green spaces and find out that what I used to think was native is actually not. The picture for this blog post mostly has invasive species that was on a site at the North Bridge (if you would have told me a month ago that those are all native species, you could have fooled me). Since we’re talking about invasive species, that site also contained an invasive species called catchweed bedstraw (picture below and identified using inaturalist). This plant was found in a section of the park that is called sergeant field and is a wetland area. This place used to be a farm that included Elisha Jones’s house. Quick bit of history and lore on Elisha Jones house!
“When Thomas Jones died in 1774, his son Elisha inherited all of his property. In April 19, 1775, a day when Elisha Jones, his wife Elizabeth, and two young children at the time were living near the North Bridge when fighting broke out. According to legend, Elisha was watching the British retreat from the North Bridge when one of them took a shot at him; the bullet lodged in the shed. The hole can still be seen today, though whether or not it came from a bullet is up for debate” (source: https://npplan.com/parks-by-state/massachusetts-national-parks/minute-man-national-historical-park-park-at-a-glance/minute-man-national-historical-park-historical-homes/minute-man-national-historical-park-elisha-jones-house/)
Back to the bedstraw, I found out that this flowering plant (bedstraw) was used for filling in mattresses that the soldiers used when coming to America (which is why it is called bedstraw).There are other species of bedstraw such as sweet-scented bedstraw (G. odoratum) that is used in perfumes and sachets and for flavoring beverages. Lady’s bedstraw (G. verum), is used in Europe to curdle milk and to color cheese. (source: https://www.britannica.com/plant/bedstraw)