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Wildflowers of the Catskills: Milk Thistle & More

Wildflowers of the Catskills: Milk Thistle & More

This prickly milk thistle, like so many things we find on our land upstate, felt like a greeting from beyond. As I've mentioned before, my Grandpa DJ bought our property in the Catskills when I was a baby. He also bought the original double-wide trailer that we had to tear down in order to build our new place. He had liver problems and passed away when I was a kid, but I feel close to him whenever I'm in the mountains.

Anyway, my son Archer started asking lots of questions about the milk thistle plant, which grows wild on our hill. A quick Google search led me to WebMD, which said, "Milk thistle is sometimes used as a natural treatment for liver problems." Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I couldn't help but think, "Oh hi, DJ. I see what you're doing there."

 Milk thistle

Milk thistle

My grandfather would've appreciated Archer's curiosity about nature. While we were researching some local flora, we decided to figure out the names of all the wildflowers we'd photographed on the land during the summer. We found a tiny, daisy-like lavender flower with a yellow center that appears to be a bushy aster.

Bushy Aster

My daughter Ramona's favorite flower is a lacy white wildflower that grows all over our hill. We always called it Queen Anne's Lace, but it's also known as wild carrot, bird's nest, or bishop's lace.

Queen Anne's Lace, a.k.a. wild carrot, bird's nest, or bishop's lace

My favorites are these lavender-pink flowers that grow in giant clusters along the side of the road. With a little internet research, I learned that they're called Dame's Rocket and are considered an invasive species in some states.

 Dame's Rocket

Dame's Rocket

 Dame's Rocket

Dame's Rocket

Whether it's the silent voice of my grandfather or the incessant interrogation of my son, I'm so thankful for the reminder to look more closely at nature and to see the beauty in the wildflowers and weeds.

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Top 10 Things To Do with Kids in the Catskills: Fall 2016

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