I. Virginia Blue.
First, a moth. A couple of weeks ago I had found its fuzzy yellow cocoon stuck to a weed, and placed it in a sauerkraut jar on the kitchen counter. The creature emerged Friday morning. I had expected butterfly serenity, pendulous from a fading leaf, but this beast was pacing the jar like a tethered dog watching skateboarders.
When I took the jar outside, however, the lepidopterus settled on the glass wall to sun itself. “What an interesting butterfly,” I thought.
See? Horizontal wings, feathery antennae: it’s a moth. Please give a warm welcome to Virginia Ctenucha (Ctenucha virginica).
II. Virginia Pink.
Yesterday morning, as I did my Sunday Seven A.M. Survey of weekly plant growth and landscaping accomplishments on our property, some rose bushes beckoned from the City wasteland over the fence.
Since I was wearing deer-tick-resistant rubber boots, I decided to investigate.
Pretty, no? This, I do believe, is Rosa virginiana, a wild rose found throughout most of eastern North America. She’s about six feet tall, lean and lanky with an honest, open face. Her cousin, diminutive and shy, was in the field too; she whispered to me to fetch the collander.
III. Virginia Red.
I fetched. I crouched. I picked. An hour later, transferred from collander to sieve, lay just over a cupful of wild strawberries — Fragaria virginiana. This is the mother of 90% of all cultivated strawberries.
None of which are as tasty as their ma.
An entire morning spent picking might yield enough for a jar of jam…
…but served with a little milk, wild strawberries are too scrummy to last until the canner comes to a boil.
Both on the property and over the fence, the berries are starting to plump on the Prunus virginiana — more commonly known as chokecherries. These I will make into jam once they’re fully ripe; I’ve already asked my mum for her recipe.
Hey, Virginia, a lot of lovely things are named for you.