Howell Wye? More like Howell Weeds

One of the constant elements of southeastern railfanning is kudzu, sumac, honeysuckle, wisteria – you know, weeds. As summer turns to fall, we have one last chance to appreciate all that luscious green foliage.

Trains sneak out of the underbrush like wild animals.

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In a few months this will all be gray and brown.

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By the way, Pokeweed was traditionally used as a source of food in the South and in Appalachia even though it is toxic. I guess our ancestors would rather risk being poisoned by their food than not having any at all.

Sumac, visible in most of these shots, has some species that are used as flavorings (such as for tea), but I wouldn’t try it with this wild stuff.

Edit: this is probably Rhus glabra, smooth sumac. It is supposed to be edible, although it is not the same species cultivated for tea.

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Kudzu leaves are edible as well but in the South you never know that the kudzu you pick wasn’t sprayed with something nasty in an unsuccessful attempt to kill it.

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All these plants attract bees and wasps, which were buzzing around during these shots, although it was kind of hard to hear them over the trains.

Link: Flickr album with more of this

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