We were in Petersham, MA yesterday, inside Gate 40 to the Quabbin Reservoir. On the search for invasive species, we quickly discovered that we were the invasive specie, at least that’s what the swarming collection of mosquitoes and flies of various sorts seemed to think. We were covered head to toe in approximately 1/4 inch of deet, so they couldn’t bite us. Frustrated, they seemed to take on a “in that case, we’ll drive you crazy” strategy which worked quite well. We did locate a stand of Red Pines that is being quickly attacked by Pine Needle Scale, but more about that in another post soon. However, we also saw other species that were also not originally from around these parts, Lilies. We were obviously thinking about Lilies this week given their beautiful presence in the City. But out here???
We’ve seen them frequently before inside the Quabbin Reservoir gates and often speculated as to their origin. When you see Lilies by the side of the road, it is hard not to imagine that they were planted by someone, but by who? I have to believe that few if any folks would have the motivation to set down bulbs inside the Quabbin gates. The reality is, these European immigrants are extremely hardy and multiply. Certainly the actual flower bulbs planted by the original settlers, such as produced this Day Lily, would have given out long ago I would think.
But their off spring, maybe not. Chris noticed a less common variety on the opposite side of the road, a Canada Lily.
In addition to being beautiful, the Canada Lily was also used by Native Americans to treat a variety of illness with a tea prepared from its roots: including stomach ailments and rheumatism. (from New England Wildflowers by Frank Kaczmarek.)
I’ve often considered the great character trees along the roads inside the gates of the Quabbin to be the last living entities that remain from that era at their pre-Reservoir location. It is perhaps the case that these “wildflowers” have been keeping the trees company.