Monday, April 20, 2009

A Few Sweet Surprises

On a walk around Mud Pond yesterday, I found not a single wildflower in bloom.  And today dawned dark and chilly and threatening rain.  Why bother to go out, I thought, but then corrected myself: Dutchman's Breeches could be in bloom at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve.  And so they were.  And so were a bunch of other wonderful wildflowers, including one I never expected to find around here: Snow Trillium (Trillium nivale).  Both my Peterson's and Newcomb's guides tell me this flower blooms from Pennsylvania west to Minnesota, south to Kentucky.  Well, you guys, I found it here in Wilton, NY, and here are some photos to prove it:

Here's another flower most folks never find, but not because it doesn't bloom around here.  It's just that it's so itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny, it's pretty hard to see it.  And you have to walk around on really mucky ground to find it.  And then it doesn't even look like a flower.  It's called Golden Saxifrage or Water Carpet (Chrysosplenium americanum), and the plants sprawl in springy areas, forming a mat.  Luckily, my camera has a macro lens.  I have to take its picture and blow it up so I can see it.  And here's the photo I took so you can, too. (The actual flower is no more than one/eighth of an inch across.)

One more photo, just because it's so darn pretty: Round-leaved Violet (Viola rotundifolia). These are the yellowest violets I've ever seen, so intensely colored it's hard to get them in focus with my inexpensive point-and-shoot camera.  They were growing on a mossy, shaded bank by a stream, their bright lemon-yellow blossoms glowing against dark green. (I had to kneel down in the stream to take their photo.  So what're a few wet clothes in pursuit of treasure?)

Here's what else I found today, a day I almost didn't go out because I thought nothing new would be in bloom: Marsh Marigold,  Yellow-flowered Grass, Trout Lily,  and Sessile-leaved Bellwort.  Plus lots of buds about to burst.  Check back for further developments.


Paul said...

The trilliums pictured remind me of southwestern Pittsburgh where they would blanket acres of woods especially in the Fox Chapel area northeast of the City. Unfortunately, severe overpopulation of whitetail deer has apparently led to their near elimination.

The yellow violet is breathtaking.

catharus said...

That's a new one for me -- the snow trillium. I was just introduced over the weekend to the nodding trillium in the Bushkill watershed. It too is one I was unfamiliar with.

Woodswalker said...

Your area is where these trillium usually grow (when not eaten by deer). We're WAY out of their natural range in Saratoga County. I'm wondering if Orra Phelps planted them when she lived here. Glad you liked the violet. I do too.

The Snow Trillium's natural range includes western Pennsylvania. Is that where you live? But I understand it's become quite rare. We do have Nodding Trillium here in Saratoga County; not as common as Wake Robin and Large-flowered White, but I've found it in two places. Very pretty, white with a touch of pink at its throat.

Tom said...

I agree, this does look like snow trillium. Was it tiny? Snow trilliums are sprites in the trillium world. If it is Trillium nivale, it would be a state record. The New York Natural Heritage Program would be really interested in your find.