“Elecampane” – Seaton Hiking Trail

“Elecampane Stem and Seedhead” - Seaton Hiking Trail

This was a typical shot from this past fall / Early December; bright golds and yellows, almost ‘aglow’, as the soft sunlight reflected from the dried plants. This Elecampane plant stood out to me because the leaves were darker and more gray than the surrounding yellows, and the seed heads varied from gray to a pale orange. The plant also stands out in sharp contrast to its neighbours since it is quite tall and generally survives the winter still standing due to its almost woody stalk. In the summer this is a beautiful plant, with flowers resembling small sunflowers, so it should not surprise me that it is also known in some areas as Wild Sunflower.

This plant has a long medicinal history dating back to ancient Greece. The latin name Inula Helenium is taken from a legend that Helen of Troy was carrying a bouquet of these flowers when Paris stole her away to Phrygia. The root, in particular, has been used in herbal medicines since ancient times and there are many mentions of its use in historical texts. It seems to be a cure for many different ailments, depending on how it is prepared.

It was also a common herb grown in the gardens of early north american settlers, as it could be used as an herb or as food. Thus, like many other plants, it has moved from gardens to wilderness paths quite well.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 122 mm
1/60 sec, @ f/4.0 -0.33, ISO 250

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