Yesterday I made a Big Score. Two days ago I was driving through a very scenic, not very busy highway. I noticed a road-cut on my right that had some red plants growing on the face.
I was running late, did not have the time to stop and investigate also there was no place to pull over. The road was very windy so I continued on my way. I was thinking about those red plants. What is red this time of year? Poison ivy leaves ? Red maple leaves ? Neither seemed right. I had another idea; could it be wild columbine ?
I have been a botanizer for for about 40 years. I have an extensive "collection" of New york State wildflowers. My photos of wild columbine was taken at a botanical garden in Binghamton. I have never seen wild columbine in it's natural habitat. I just had to get back and investigate.
Yesterday was a busy day for me. The dryer broke the night before and laundry mountain had been ignored for almost a week and was looming higher than ever. So I spent all morning finding and rigging out the clothesline and finding the cloths-pins. But finally I was able to get away. I dressed in my field clothes, grabbed my camera a field guide and a bottle of water. And headed to my destination.
After a pleasant drive I turned onto the country highway that followed a stream. After a few miles found my spot. It was looking good. I slowed down to get a better look at the red plants. Then I continued down the road looking for a place I could pull over. I found one 1/4 mile down the road. I walked back to the spot and became amazed. Not only was it wild columbine but there were hundreds of them. All growing on a tall cliff . I was not able to get very close because the cliff was steep, made up of shale and thus had a good base of scree.
(scree n. Loose rock debris covering a slope. A slope of loose rock debris at the base of a steep incline or cliff.)
Wild Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis