Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Mystery ~ Solved

The dogs and I take a nature hike most every day. For me (and 2 of the three dogs), it’s supposed to be a walk for health and weight loss, but who am I kidding?

My Pack.


I always get sidetracked by an empty eggshell (what kind of little birdie was that?) or …

Look at the pretty flower! (one of the few wildflowers during drought)...



Squirrel! (this normally distracts my canine pack)

or some interesting blueberry-ish looking fruit lying on the ground. What?!?! We’re in a drought, for Pete’s Sake.


I took my phone pic of the mystery tree (which bore the ripened fruit above) and posted it to facebook to see if anyone could identify it for me.

The answers poured in – from PawPaw (I wish!) to Damson Plum to some kind of Damson Berry.

I decided to delve further and I sent the phone picture to Missouri Conservation Ombudsman. He was perplexed by this phone pic also. So Mr. W and I trekked back to the spot and took some better pictures for the Ombudsman. Notice how tiny the fruit is in Mr. W’s hand. Sadly, that fact alone would rule out Paw Paws! Well, and of course, Paw Paws are not normally blueberry colored…


Mr. W and I had taken our little Missouri Tree Field Guide with us and tentatively identified the tree as a Nannyberry. However, Mr. Conservation Ombudsman has officially identified it as a…

wait for it…

Black Haw.

Per MDC site:  Decades ago, when more Americans led rural lives and walked more, the fruits were nibbled on by many. The root bark has been used medicinally. Ecosystem connections: Many species of birds eat the berries, including the cardinal, cedar waxwing, robin, ruffed grouse and wild turkey. Mammals that relish the berries include deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, skunks and mice. Deer and beaver eat the twigs, bark and leaves. Many animals use this shrub for cover.

The fruit tastes somewhat like raisins, but there will be no Black Haw pies here. Saving these little morsels for our wildlife neighbors. They’ll surely need them this year.

Thank you, Tim, Missouri Department of Conservation Ombudsman, for your help!

Find ways to Explore and Enjoy in your neck of the woods. You never know what you might find!

We’re off to the Missouri State Fair this weekend. Hope to share some lovely long-eared and other photos with you soon!


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