I know I posted a photo of this Haircap Moss a few days ago, but this patch was even more photogenic, those cinnamon-brown star-packed cups surrounded by bright green spikes, all so neatly arrayed. These are the moss's male shoots, where the sperm develops and is splashed out of the cups by raindrops to land on nearby female shoots.
Here are the female shoots of Haircap Moss, where the fertilized egg cells develop into spores. These spores will be contained in a capsule at the top of the stalk, which later in the year will open to spill the spores on the wind.
Here's a closer look at those spore stalks. Note how fuzzy and frayed they are. Do you suppose that's how this moss got its common name of Haircap? Folks once thought that this moss could be used as an agent to strengthen the hair, a use no doubt suggested by the plant's appearance. The stalks of this moss also can be woven into baskets, which must be quite lovely, considering the deep color of those stalks.
I posted a photo of Red Maple keys a few days ago, too, but that former photo didn't show the ruffled pink collar that circles the twin purplish seeds. What amazing colors!
I wanted to show Ellen the patch of Whitlow Grass (Draba verna) that grows almost invisibly along a park road, but the tiny four-petaled flowers were closed up on this damp dark day. Thanks to Ellen's much sharper eyes, she noted the minute little pea-pod-shaped things protruding from many blossoms. These flowers are already fruiting.