Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Misty River

A soft, warm day with intermittent sun and showers: perfect for misty conditions on the river.  I call this island Woodcock Island because I've flushed a woodcock here several times.  It's a favorite spot for a picnic and swim, and in May it's ablaze with sweet-scented mountain azalea.  Trailing arbutus grows here, too, and so do cardinal flower and narrow-leaved gentian.  It's simply a beautiful spot whatever the season.  Including today.

Today, the easiest way through the woods was to walk along (or in) the beds of streams.  My boots got a little muddy but it spared my shins from being skinned on the crusty snow when my feet punched through.  I found lots more green stuff newly freed from the weight of winter snow: Christmas fern, wood fern, yellow-flowered grass, common speedwell,  partridge berry, horsetail rush, lycopodia, liverwort.  (Which I like to call "lizardwort."  Doesn't this photo  look  sort of like a pile of writhing lizards?) 

And here it is, folks, the first flower of spring: skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).  The spathe has opened, the spadix inside is dotted with puffs of pollen.  I opened one up for a closer look and spilled what looked like yellow flour all over my front.  With this plant in bloom I can now start a brand new notebook for the year: Wildflowers 2009.

1 comment:

NatureGirl said...

I haven't seen a skunk cabbage since I left NJ in 1994! I suppose we must have them somewhere in the Adks, but I haven't seen one yet.