I was walking along the Diahoga Trail one morning in September and a small knotgrass plant rooted in the shallow cinders along the path caught my eye. I think it was something about the way the light had struck it from eastward angle that beautifully illumined it’s many tiny green, white, and pink flowers. I had to get a closer look. Now, keep in mind that there are many people who use this as an exercise trail and this particular plant was so small that most passersby likely wouldn’t notice it at all. But I did. So, prostrate on my belly I lay, with legs outstretched behind me, arms folded under my chin, face about twelve inches from the ground for a very close-up look. I was so enthralled with this little plant neighbor, noting the colors of its flowers, the texture of its leaves, the pattern made on the ground by its multitude of creeping stems and other intricate details that I was oblivious to the fact that someone had been watching this man lying face-down prostrate and still from across the street…until I heard footsteps crunching cinders just a few feet behind me. Thinking that I’d fallen and was in need of help, she said, “Are you okay, Sir?” I think she was as happy that I was not in need of resuscitation as I was to have made the acquaintance with this tiny little plant.
Common knotgrass is an exotic species but it is not considered to be invasive; kind of an in-between category of plant on the scale of beneficial or detrimental to native wildlife. It is a hardy little plant, a pioneer of sorts that is usually one of the first plants to colonize areas that have been significantly impacted by humans. A look around your house or neighborhood will likely reveal lots of knotgrass plants sprawling out in circle formation from small cracks in the sidewalk.
Knotgrass plants can be seen in the photo below where the fence and cinders meet.
A closer look reveals the circular sprawling pattern of knotgrass stems.
An even closer look reveals many small round leaves attached to each fleshy stem.
Looking even closer reveals many tiny whitish flowers.
Look even closer than that and you'll see that each tiny flower has five petals, and contains shades of green, white, pink, and in the center, yellow.
Now compare the first and last picture. What stands out as significant to you?
What else can you find in nature that's worth a closer look this time of year?