Narceus americanus (American giant millipede)
I thought I’d post a second photograph from our walk on the Billy Goat Trail. This is an American giant millipede (Narceus americanus, also called an iron worm) and it really is quite large, about four inches long. We saw a few of them and they are fairly common.
These millipedes do not have venomous stingers or fangs and are not dangerous to humans. They can secrete bad-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals from pores in the sides of their bodies. These chemicals help keep many predators away.
We went for a hike on Billy Goat Trail C today, after a walk out to the overlook at Great Falls (and because Trail A was closed because of flooding). It was a lovely day, not too hot but warm enough. There are a lot of pawpaws along this trail and I was able to get one decent picture that shows their flowers as flowers. They are quite dark and almost brown, but have a little bit of red in them, which you can see in the right light, as in this picture.
The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is an native tree with a very interesting fruit which, according to Wikipedia, is the largest indigenous to the United States. The fruit has yellow, custard-like flesh that is quite sweet and luscious and I’m a big fan. Dad planted quite a few in Pennsylvania and a couple in the yard. One drawback is that the flowers smell a bit like rotting meat. Dad would actually hang small bags of meat scraps to attract blowflies or carrion beetles for pollination. Yes, it’s as gross as it sounds. But the fruit is worth it.