Everything has a name, I just don’t know them all. Yesterday I started using an app on my phone, “PictureThis” to identify plants. Today I put it to the test on the southern fringes of the Kennedy Forest, where nature meets the interstate highway.
There is a little stream there, that flows eastward between the zoo and the highway, broadening into a swampy area about where the westbound exit onto Clayton Road starts. It is certainly not quiet there, the roar of the highway is omnipresent, overpowering, dismaying, and impressive, but still, cardinals, robins and other birds perch, feed, and flit about. I see them moving and want to catch them with my camera, but the light is low and they rarely sit still for long. An American redstart does me the favor of posing, and I respond to his courtesy with a barrage of photos, one of them suitable for framing and passing on to my friends.
On the forest floor and by the stream I find cinquefoils, meadow-grass, cock’s-foot, fleabane, Chinese ash, bamboo-leaf, spiderwort, and hickory and oak saplings. I exit that section and take a walk on the other side of Wells Drive, toward Government drive, where I find red raspberry plants in bloom, honeysuckle, mayapple, Virginia creeper and climbing euonymus in abundance among the oaks, maples and dogwood trees.
I take and analyze a lot of photos, and sometimes the app returns different IDs for what is obviously the same plant. I start thinking that while the electronic identification is a good place to start, having a good book on Missouri plants would be a great way to verify the information it gives me.