Canada Violet

photograph of a Canada Violet growing in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA
Canada Violet

This Canada Violet was growing along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park when I was there last May.

Daisy Fleabane

macro photograph of Daisy Fleabane growing in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA
Daisy Fleabane

This daisy fleabane was blooming along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park at the end of May.

Knowing “bane” loosely means something that is hated by or makes something’s existence more difficult, I thought fleabane was an interesting name for a wildflower so I looked it up.  Folklore has it these plants can be dried and used to keep fleas away.  That explains the name.

Goldenrod Crab Spider on Stem

photograph of a goldenrod crab spider on the stem of a plant

 

Sometimes when I’m hiking I like to stop, at seemingly random places, and look closely at my surroundings.  I might spend 5 or 10 minutes just trying to discover the little things that most people walk right by completely unaware.  If you’ve never done this before I highly recommend it.  Almost anywhere you go you will be amazed at some of the small wonders that present themselves if you just slow down and take a little time to become acquainted with your surroundings.

This Goldenrod Crab Spider was one such secret, hiding right in front of my eyes.  I stepped off the hiking trail into a small meadow just to see what might be there.  I looked around a bit and was about to move along when I noticed this spider sitting motionless, the embodiment of patience and stillness.  Goldenrod Crab Spiders will sit for long periods of time, waiting for an unsuspecting insect to come within reach.  You can frequently find them inside blooms using the flower as natural bait.

Paper Wasp on Lance-Leaved Goldenrod

photograph of a paper wasp on lance-leaved goldenrod

I had a little trouble identifying this species of wasp but I believe it is a paper wasp.  In my experience they are not aggressive unless you disturb their nests.  In this case I was photographing wildflowers when the wasp approached to gather nectar.  I sat still, watched and photographed it and the wasp didn’t even seem to notice me.

Rough Stink Bug on Ficus

Spider Breakfast

Little Black Spider

Buttercup

photograph of a buttercup flower

A simple buttercup grew in a patch of grass along the trail I was hiking.  After stopping to take photos of something more compelling, I noticed this flower and thought it deserved a little attention.