The focus of this book is the flowers found growing in the woods, fields, roadsides, and beaches of the islands of Casco Bay, Maine. Because my summer home is on Chebeague Island, most of the species recorded here were observed on Chebeague, and most specific place names refer to Chebeague. However, the flora of the islands of Casco Bay (and surrounding mainland) is all very similar; so, this book can be a guide to the wildflowers of the region. I wrote these pages primarily for myself, because I wanted to learn the wildflowers on Chebeague, but I also want to share them with anyone who may enjoy these plants. The species included here are mostly wildflowers although there are some quirky ones, like sheep sorrel (a horrible garden weed) and bittersweet (our worst invasive). Some may not consider these flowers; but of course they are, they’re flowering plants. There are also some species here that are probably escaped ornamentals (e.g. foxglove and meadow pink), and so are not strictly “wild” flowers, but they are certainly pretty and worth including.
The flowers are arranged by month and within each month by color. The monthly arrangement gives a sense of the progression of the seasons from spring through fall. The arrangement by color is to help with identification. Designating a species to a particular month is somewhat arbitrary (should a flower first seen on May 31 be included in May or June?) and, depending on the weather in a given year, flowering times can be shifted by a week or more. Many species flower over several months (dandelions, clovers and hawkweeds, for example), but all of them have a period where flowering is most intense and this is where I have placed them. Arranging plants by flower color also has difficulties because some of the color distinctions are blurry – is a flower purple or is it more red or blue? I have grouped together red with pink and purple with blue.
Wildflowers of Chebeague and the Casco Bay Islands
6 X 9, softcover
152 pages, color photos
George Bates is Professor Emeritus of Biological Science, Florida State University, where he conducted research on plant genetics and taught genetics, molecular biology, and plant biology. George has a life-long passion for the outdoors, nature, and plants — and for Chebeague and Casco Bay. Members of George’s family have been Chebeaguers since the early 1800s; first as year-round islanders, later as summer residents. George and his wife Carolyn spend winters in Tallahassee, Florida, and summers on Chebeague Island, where they enjoy gardening, hiking, and boating on the bay. You can reach George by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org