Hi! My name is AJ. I was born and raised in Alaska where I continue to reside, indefinitely. I honestly don’t think I will ever move out of this beautiful state (even though I am not a fan of the snow). I am enrolled in the UAF Elementary Education program and am expecting to graduate this coming spring after completing my internship during the 2022-23 school year. I currently live in the Meadow Lakes area, but I enjoy venturing out further in order to see new scenery that Alaska has to offer. I am taking this class for several reasons, but one of them is that I have always found Alaska flora to be very interesting as it has so many uses. For example, I enjoy making fireweed jelly and tea from the fireweed plant ( Chamerion Angustifolium). Even dandelions have their uses that I was not aware of until I became an adult. I hope to gain knowledge from this class that I will be able to pass along to my children that I homeschool as well as any students that I may have in the future as well.
The image I have selected is of a Pumpkin Berry also called Timberberry, Dogberry, and Northern Commandra. The scientific name for it is Geocaulon Lividum. These actually grow in the wooded area around my yard. When these berries are fully developed they are a bright pumpkin orange and even look to have lined sections like pumpkins. The fruits will not be fully developed until august. These berries honestly are not used all that much even though they are edible, this is due to them not being very tasteful. I have also found that they can cause disease in surrounding plants and to be mindful of yellow veined leaves that carry this disease.
You are right, Alaska has some pretty incredible scenery to offer, and with few folks around, it is always a very intimate outdoor experience. I remember hiking some trails in Arizona and Colorado, and there were always lots of people on the trails. Great you are willing to expand your horizon with learning more about the flora. I hope you will be able to take kids on nature hikes in the future, or design some lessons plans that will include plants, their uses, identification, and lots more. Nice picture of Geocaulon lividum, I find Northern Commandra to be a pretty stunning plant too. We came across it one time teaching this class in the early summer and it was flowering and I looked at the flowers under the microscope. Amazing little flowers!