I went out in search of beech drops for today’s sketch. I didn’t find any. On my way up the path toward the pond, though, I found something exciting.
Today’s nature sketch features American ginseng in early October. The leaves are yellowing now, the fruits have all fallen, and winter is coming.
This American ginseng plant is growing in an unexpected spot. It is not one I planted, and I would have never thought to look for wild ginseng in this location.
This makes it all the more exciting. It’s growing on the downhill side of a cedar deadfall, among poison ivy and one pawpaw tree sprout along with some other scrappy little saplings of unidentified sorts. The trees overhead are dogwood, elm, and cedar. Besides the pawpaw, the only other typical companion plant I saw was a grape fern.
I would have to describe the site as a recovering location. It looks as if it was on the outskirts of dozer damage when the logging road was used last, which had to have been fifteen years ago. We only use it now for the 4-wheeler, but it’s still wide enough for a small pickup to fit through.
Aside from the ginseng I found withering remains of twayblade orchid and a Lady’s Tresses orchid, also on the decline.
If you are interested in more information about American ginseng, we have a lot of articles at our home site.
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.