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Oberg Mountain

Wildflowers

There are a lot of wildflowers for you to see on Oberg Mountain. Since the Oberg Mountain Trail is such a short one, you should have plenty of time to stop in between the overlooks, as well as at the overlooks, to study the flowers. Take your time to learn about some of the beautiful plants that call Oberg home.

Two cinquefoils, members of the rose family, grow on Oberg. The Threetoothed Cinquefoil is said to have strawberrylike blossoms that brighten the mountaintops of the Alleghenies, the coast of New England, and the shores of the Great Lakes. The Rough Cinquefoil, according to Mrs. William Dana Starr, is a rather weedy-looking plant common in dry soils. Its flowers last through the summer. The genus name for the cinquefoils, Pontentilla, refers to the powerful medicinal properties these plants were once thought to possess.

The Bluebead Lily is easily identified after the shiny blue fruits have ripened. But beware, the fruits are poisonous. There are 3 to 6 berries perched at the top of a stalk. Another name for this wildflower is Yellow Clintonia in honor of a former governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton, and yellow being the color of the flowers.

Yarrow, a member of the sunflower family, is another easily identifiable wildflower on Oberg, as well as the rest of the eastern two-thirds of North America. Tiny white flowers form dense, flat-topped clusters at the top of a stem that grows from 1-3 feet high. The blossoms appear throughout the summer and into the fall. According to Mrs. Starr, whose book, How to Know the Wild Flowers, is a source of interesting information about wildflowers, writes that the genus name, Achillea, derives from the belief that Achilles used it to cure the wounds of his soldiers. People must do strange things with plants, because she goes on to say that English botanists referred to yarrow as nosebleed, because the leaves being put into the nose caused it to bleed. Swedes call it field hop in recognition of its use in brewing beer.

Finally, although not even close to being the end of the Oberg flowers, is the bunchberry. This low-to-the-ground plant has the look of Christmas about it with its tight cluster of small, shiny red berries above a whorl of green leaves. It is one of the most common flowers growing along the trails of northeastern Country. This flower is a member of the dogwood family which consists mainly of small trees and shrubs. The bunchberry is one of only two herbs in the family. While the berries are edible, they do not have much of a taste, and the fruit is difficult to separate from the seed. However, cooks and bakers may use bunch-berries in combination with other, more flavorful berries, to make the tastier berries go further.

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