Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Ephemerals

I always read WiseAcre's blog for his witty prose and to admire his fantastic photographs. I must thank him for mentioning that the wildflowers are nearly a month earlier than last year. Asleep at the switch, I would have missed seeing some of my favorites. Thanks to him, Ed and I went wildflower hunting today!

Our first picture looks like a dandelion. This flowers' seed pod also looks like it belongs to a dandelion. I remember my surprise when it was pointed out to me that this early spring yellow ray flower is called coltsfoot. I also discovered that coltsfoot should not be introduced to a garden. It spreads by an underground rhizome that has no limit and accepts no barrier. Enjoy this early bright color wherever you see it but leave it in the wild.

Bloodroot flowers are delicate. Opening up in full sun, they close at night. These white and yellow beauties will only last a couple of hot days. A heavy windstorm can blow their delicate petals away. We were lucky to catch these while their stems are still tightly clasped by their leaves.

This picture shows a progression of emerging bloodroot flowers. It begins with a small tightly sheathed leaf, a slightly larger clasped leaf and finally the lovely flowers with the leaves just beginning to release their grasp on the flower's stem. The sap of these beautiful little plants is carmine red and somewhat toxic. Ed has tried without success to introduce bloodroot to our land. One year and gone seems to be its growth habit here. We are anxiously looking for any sign of life from the plants set out last year. Just to be safe new plants have been ordered again this year.

1 comment:

wiseacre said...

I saw thousands of Coltsfoot the other day but wasn't able to get any photos because I didn't have a hard hat and wasn't allowed out of my truck at the quarry without one.

Bloodroot is a bit fussy about where they grow. They want moist well drained humus rich soil but never wet feet. They need to be placed where they get sun in the early spring but not in the summer. (a little direct sun is OK but not too much) My guess is that in areas with too much sun the soil dries out too much for the root/tuber.

I'm a happy camper - the wild bunch I saved has naturalized and spread to other parts of my wood's edges. I just caught some blooming yesterday :) I'm a bit concerned for the new volunteers since the maple tree that shaded the area had to come down last year.

I struggle to say anything. Please don't take talking out of my backside as witty prose. It's a sign I can't think and write coherently.