Friday, April 29, 2011

A Flood of Flowers and Other Wonders

While out checking the state of floodwaters today, I was also trying to keep up with the flood of wildflowers now coming into bloom. For flower nuts like me, every day is like Christmas now, as I hurry out to see what marvels Mother Nature has left for me under the trees. Along Spier Falls Road in Moreau, these Christmas-Ribbon-Red Trilliums were massed on a steep bank rising over my head, so that every one of their gorgeous nodding flowers was faced in my direction. What a sight!

Trout Lily always averts its gaze, so you have to put your finger under its chin to lift its face. But today I was happy to notice the back of its bloom, where all three sepals were tinged with pink to distinguish them from the pure-yellow petals.

Early Saxifrage is already in bloom, and I did find their bright-white clustered flowers today, but I love even more these chubby little bunches of buds set off by their wreaths of scalloped leaves.

The twin trumpets of American Fly Honeysuckle are dangling now from single stalks.

Dog Violets, with their pale-purple flowers that grow on leafy stems, were starting to carpet the woods at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve.

Also at Orra Phelps today, the Dutchmen had hung their Breeches above their clumps of lacy leaves.

Massed along this rushing stream, Sessile-leaved Bellworts were trying to hide their pale-yellow blooms beneath their stem-clasping leaves. I think this photo demonstrates how I manage to get tick bites in my eyebrows, since I had to lie down on my stomach to get this shot.

There were other marvels besides flowers beautifying the woods today. Wherever the sunlight shone down through the trees, the translucent baby leaves of Red Maple lit up like stained glass.

Ferns of every kind are now unscrolling their fiddleheads. I think this may be Wood Fern, since I see all those fronds surrounding this clump, still green although flattened by winter's deep snow.

For the same reason, I'm pretty sure that these fuzzy coils belong to the Christmas Fern that lies there so green beside them.

Speaking of green . . . . This beautiful bright-green moss was decorating the huge damp boulders that lie at the foot of the cliffs opposite Spier Falls Dam.

Some of that moss was sprouting a dense coat of hair-fine spore stalks.

Inhabiting those same damp boulders were mats of brown Dog Lichen, with a wee little tan-colored mushroom hiding out amid the similarly colored "ears" of the lichen.

Not every flower that's beautiful is a delight to see. At first I thought these shiny yellow blooms might be Marsh Marigold, except I didn't remember any of that plant growing along this particular stream at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve. Then a closer inspection (involving very muddy shoes) revealed that this is Lesser Celandine, a dreaded invasive alien that, left to its own devices, could soon take over the area, supplanting all the rich diversity of plants now found there.

Here's a closer look at its flower, pretty enough, with shiny yellow petals.

I hope that's the last of its pretty face we will find at Orra Phelps, since I promptly pulled it out. Luckily, there was only one clump. But now I'll be watching for it, in case it returns. To learn more about this invasive plant and how to help eradicate it, go to the New York Flora Association's blog by clicking here.


Lindsey said...

Hi Jackie! This post is so handy, I was over at Bog Meadow this morning, and I wasn't sure of the flower species I was seeing, now I recognize some of them from your post! There are trout lily and bellworts there, and I found a beautiful trillium - unsure of which, it was a beautiful reddish-purple (maybe wake robin?), and all by itself. And of course, plenty of fiddleheads! Oh and field horsetail reeds everywhere (I learned this from an earlier post). I also found some ticks, a beaver, and what looked like a fisher passing the trail (I will do more research on fisher-like animals, maybe it was something similar), and of course, plenty of warblers now singing all sorts of pretty songs. :)

Andrew Lane Gibson said...

Such a lovely post! I loved the American Fly Honeysuckle flowers the best! Ohio's native Lonicera's are quickly disappearing and being replaced with the much uglier and invasive chinese/japanese species :/

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi Lindsey, glad to be of help in the flower department. I sure could use your eyes and ears to help me ID the birds that are flitting about me all the time now. You may very well have seen a fisher, since we have lots around here, by the tracks I see in winter. But to actually lay eyes on one is quite a treat. Bigger than a mink, a bit smaller than an otter and on longer legs.

Thanks, A.L. I sure love visiting your blog to see what's blooming in Ohio. Stay tuned for when I'll be posting photos of a couple more native Loniceras as they come into bloom: Trumpet (L. sempervirens) and Glaucous (L. dioica) are both vines, and then we have a native Bush Honeysuckle too, Diervilla lonicera. We have to search hard for these, though, since, here, too, the alien species have taken over much of the natives' habitat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for great photos and descriptions. You helped me identify a weed growing in a customer's garden (probably came in with the bark mulch). It is yellow lesser Celandine, it seems, at least from your description. It is indeed trying to take over her perennial bed and lawn.