Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Wildflowers, 2010

Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica.
Photo from 2009

My mother and I took a wildflower walk at the Cincinnati Nature Center this afternoon. It was a large group - 25 people or more - and when that many people get strung out along a woodland trail, the folks in the back often miss what the trip leader at the front is saying. So, yours truly took it upon herself to act as auxiliary leader, pointing out plants and distributing names and any interesting facts I knew. At first, I think my mom was a bit embarrassed when I took charge of the back half of the group, but she soon realized I couldn't help myself and resigned herself to admitting her offspring is, at least in part, a teacher.

One person asked me if I was on the staff at CNC. "No," I said, "I'm just an obnoxious know-it-all." Another gentleman asked me how I knew everything that I did, and I really didn't have an answer. After 20 plus springs of walking, studying, and learning, you just know. While I will never be a botanist, one of the things I do know is Ohio's spring wildflowers. Here are a few of the things we saw today:

Squirrel-corn, Dicentra canadensis, a relative of Bleeding Heart and the plant below.
Dutchman's breeches, Dicentra cucullaria. Photo from 2009

Dwarf Larkspur, Delphinium tricorne, also known as Spring Larkspur. Most were still in bud. This one, on a south-facing slope, was in bloom.

Wild Blue Phlox, Phlox divaricata,
also called Blue Phlox or Wood Phlox.

Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica.
When photographing the bells,
t helps if someone turns them over.

There were plenty Wild Ginger plants, Asarum canadense, with their fuzzy buds just emerging, but this photo is from 2009, since I forgot to take any pictures of this year's crop. The deep reddish-brown flower lays on the ground, and is pollinated by beetles.

False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum. I always have a hard time remembering how to tell the difference between this and the plant below,
Rue Anemone, Anemonella thalictroides. Our leader gave me a good tip: In "true" Rue Anemone, there is usually one large and two or more smaller flowers clustered together, as in the photo above. False Rue Anemone only has a single flower.

Sessile Trilium, Trilium sessile, also called Toadshade Trilium was in full bloom. Yes, this apparently half-opened bud is as big as the flower gets. (Photo from 2009)

This Nodding, or Bent, Triliuim, Trilium flexipes, is barely in bud. This is the most confusing of Triliums, as it may have an upright or a dangling flower, and comes in white or red. All trilium species share one trait, however - they all have parts of three: three leaves, three sepals, three petals.

Yellow Trout-lily, Erythronium americanum. White trout-lily has already gone to seed. Missed it again! Bloodroot was gone, too.

One thing I was glad to find was Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum. It always makes me smile.

After missing this wildflower for the last three springs, I was even happier to see one of my favorite wildflowers,
Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia verna. While most of the other wildflowers shown above are perennials, this is the only annual spring wildflower I know, sprouting in the fall and flowering in early spring. Isn't it a beauty?

The spring show lasts only a few more weeks. Get out and see the wildflowers before they're gone for another year.


LauraHinNJ said...

Thanks for the push to get out and see these beauties!

Nina said...

I just learned a little trick to help remember false rue anemone:
F-A-L-S-E has 5 letters, also 5 flower petals. Count'em, it works!
Glad you found Blue-eyed Mary. I missed her this year and she's too pretty to miss.