Every spring you may notice these small white flowers growing in your yard, or neighbor’s yard or park or some other grassy place. Now I know they have stopped blooming now, but I decided I want to blog about them anyway, because I fucking want to. Yeah, I know it is out of season, but I don’t care. It’s not like the nature blog police are gonna come after me. Yeah, those nature blog police are always bad news. Fuck them. There are 22 species of bluet, but only 3 are native to New England[ii] – I will be focusing on the most common species H. caerulia, the other two being H. canadensis and H. longifolia[iii]. There isn’t a whole lot of information about them, other than how to grow them because they look kinda pretty in a garden, but I really don’t care about that. A quick Google search will help you with that. I won’t. The most likely reason there isn’t a whole lot else about them is probably because nobody gives a fuck, except for maybe a lone botanist out there specializing in Houstonia flowers, but I am not even sure that person even exists. And while there isn’t whole lot of information on H. caerulia either, but there is more on this one than the others, so I will focus on that one.
Here is what little interesting tidbits I can find out about them: The Cherokee used these plants to prevent bedwetting. No idea if it actually works. I am not recommending you drink a case of beer (or anything else for that matter) and then eating some of these before going to bed to find out.[iv] I’m definitely filing this in the “Don’t try this at home” category. There are also sometimes called “Quaker ladies” apparently because they look like hats worn by Quaker women[v] back when butter churning was a thing.
Despite, their name, these flowers are white, with a faint bluish hue along the tips of the petal. Not exactly the best named plant. I wasn’t sure why anyone would have actually named a blue flower that. Well, I found out some species of bluet are actually blue, which is probably why they got the name, though one is actually kinda pinkish.[vi] But most are whitish, including ones around here, which are mostly white with the tiniest faintest blue. There is also a scarlet bluet, but that is a kind of bug, not a flower.[vii] Bonus: They are also native to New England, so perhaps there will be a future blog post about them someday. Maybe, if I feel like it. However I should point out that my source actually says “Range and date information may be incomplete, overinclusive, or just plain wrong.[viii]” WTF?!?!?!
07 July 2017, Emily, still undecided on whether to use a pen name or not “Cassette Lizards on Fire” Maybe…
There you have it, little white flowers named after another color, and also out of season, and not a whole fucking lot about them, because yeah.
[i] Theriet, John W. (revising author) Neiring, William, A. and Olmstead, Nancy C. “National Audubon Society Field Guild to Wildflowers” 2003. Chanticleer Press New York, pg. 765-6
[iv] Author Unknown “Houstonia caerulia” GoBotany New England Wildflower Society. Framingham MA 2011-2017 https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/houstonia/caerulea/
[v] Badgett, Becca “Quaker Lady Bluets: Growing Bluets In The Garden”
[vi] Author Unknown “Houstonia rubra” SEINnet Arizona-New Mexico Chapter 30JUN2017 http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=224
[vii] Author Unknown “Species Enallagma pictum – Scarlet Bluet” Bug Guide, hosted by Iowa State University 2003-2017 Iowa State University, unless otherwise noted (best I could tell, it wasn’t noted, so this is what I am going with) http://bugguide.net/node/view/18350/data
[viii] Author Unknown “Species Enallagma pictum – Scarlet Bluet” Bug Guide, hosted by Iowa State University 2003-2017 Iowa State University, unless otherwise noted (best I could tell, it wasn’t noted, so this is what I am going with) http://bugguide.net/node/view/18350/data