Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring's First Wildflowers

This week the first of the spring wildflowers appeared in woodlands that are on moist fertile soils. These are the ephemeral spring wildflowers that briefly appear and bloom before the leaves of the hardwood trees emerge. The plants are not especially tolerant of shade, so they must grow and produce enough sugars and starches to last the year before the forest floor is shaded. They are some of the Northeast’s most beloved wildflowers and familiar sights, even if their names are not, to any observant person who spends time in the woods during the early spring. 
First the aptly named spring beauty appeared – 
As did bloodroot, named for the blood-red color of its root’s interior –

Growing in the same forests is Dutchmen’s-breeches; the individual flowers resemble a pair of upside-down pantaloons, hence the name –

With the coming of trout season the aptly named trout lily blooms –

A number of years ago a friend guided me to a population of white trout lily (a different, but closely related, species) that's worth frequent return visits –

To walk through the forest and see the ground covered with these wildflowers is truly one of the joys of spring.

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