Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guesses, anyone?

This is another in the pea family, like yesterday's vetch, but the only obvious similarity is in the foliage. I think the flowers are stunningly beautiful - pink and yellow - and when I first came across it I thought it must be something very exotic, but once I figured out what it was I saw it everywhere along the sandy roadsides of the Pine Barrens. The only hint I'll give you is that the plant contains the chemical rotenone and is thought to have been used by American Indians to stun fish, among other things. I'm not exactly sure how fish are stunned using a plant, but it's fun to imagine how that might be accomplished.

10 comments:

KGMom said...

Goat's rue. . .she said casually, after doing crazy Internet research.
There is NO WAY I would have known this had I not done research.
(AKA Tephrosia virginiana)

LauraHinNJ said...

You get the prize, KGMom! Isn't it pretty?!?

I would love for you to share your search string.

;-)

Rodrigo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dguzman said...

Nice work, KGMom.

Maybe the plant has some kind of sap or goo in the stems, and the indians would drop it in the water, and the fish would swim into the chemical cloud and get stunned?

dguzman said...

P.S. -- need... my ... midweek... bunny ... fix..... fading ... fast.....

Dorothy said...

Laura you are turning into an amazing teacher. You should be leading wildflower walks in the bogs. This plant and story behind it is very intriguing.

KGMom said...

My search string--went to Google, typed in "New Jersey Pine Barrens", then did search within results "Plants"--then just scrolled up and down looking for a photo that looked like your photo.
Is that cheating?
When I saw the flower, I read the description, did a word search within the text for "fish" and voila.

Patrick Belardo said...

Cool pic! I didn't know it without looking it up either. I just tend to call everything "Partridge Pea" even though it looks nothing like it. Beth and I are going to Webb's Mill again tomorrow. I'll post some pics on Sunday.

Floridacracker said...

The South Americans crush the rotenone plants and toss them in the water. It interferes with the fish's ability to absorb oxygen and pretty soon the fish are belly up at the surface.

Kikipotamus the Hobo said...

I LOVE vetch, all kinds. What a dainty, sweet vine-like little plant.