No, this is not some sadistic ritual I practice but the act of walking on the plant called Lady’s Thumbs which has been most prolific this year, I think mainly due to the huge amounts of rain we’ve had. Normally seen at the trail edges they have exploded and are carpeting the paths in foot deep clusters making it impossible not to tread on them.
The excessive rain is also responsible for the proliferation of the many other wet loving plants including Joe-Pye Weed, New York Ironweed and Asters which aren’t usually seen in great numbers on the open lands but have been in abundance this year.
The Milkweed hasn’t faired so well, nor the Goldenrod which hasn’t been so showy and indeed the opposite, it looks positively sick with browning leaves and few flowers, this time of year you expect to see the fields a blaze of yellow with these plants.
I think the Fall Colors will also be affected, the leaves seem to be staying green and if they do change there might not many leaves left on the trees to put on a great show, but I do hope I’m wrong, it is my favorite time of the year.
Lady’s Thumb (Polygonum persicaria) have a purplish triangle in the middle of it’s leaf resembling a thumb print.