Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spring Tries to Catch Up

It's not just ME that thinks Spring is late this year.  On a walk in the Skidmore Woods yesterday,  I found all kinds of beautiful spring wildflowers finally making their overdue appearance.  Consulting my blog archives to see when most of these flowers typically bloom,  I discovered that most of them are blooming at least three weeks later than normal this year.    Ah well, at least they're here at last, and as beautiful as ever.

Some have already been blooming for a couple of weeks, but the continuing cold weather has helped to keep them around for a good long while.  For example, here's a pretty clump of snowy-white Hepatica that holds not only freshly opened blooms, but seed pods and brand-new leaves as well.  (Typically, the new leaves usually don't appear until after the flowers have faded.)

I expected Trout Lilies to have faded by now, and many were, but then I would come upon vibrant and freshly opened clusters like this one, nestling against a tree's roots.

Bloodroot is a true ephemeral, with such a brief bloom time it seems that they almost vanish overnight.  But no, they were still holding on robustly, their pristine white petals (sepals?) encircling bright yellow sunbursts.

The sturdy brown flowers of Wild Ginger are notably long-lasting, so I was not surprised at all to find them still hanging on beneath their broad green furry leaves.

Blue Cohosh, too, lives a good long life (as ephemerals go), and it was obvious this day that the anthers had ripened and were spilling their pollen on their dark-purple sepals.

The cohosh above with the dark purple blooms is the species Caulophyllum giganteum, and growing nearby in the same area of the Skidmore Woods is a second species, C. thalictroides, which has a much lighter, greenish-yellow coloration to its flowers.  This species also blooms a bit later.  Some blooms had opened yesterday, and as this photo reveals, the anthers are not yet ripe enough to spill their pollen.

It seems the Red Trilliums have only just started to open their flowers (as we found on the hike at Moreau last Saturday), so I was certainly not expecting to see Large-flowered White Trilliums already. But there they were yesterday, and dozens and dozens of them, just starting to put on their spectacular display that will last for a couple of weeks.

You can see one pretty pale-purple Long-spurred Violet in the photo above.  This violet just loves the Skidmore Woods with its forest floor composed of limestone rock, for almost everywhere I looked I found clumps of its beautiful aptly-named blooms.

Downy Yellow Violets are not as widespread in this woods as are the Long-spurred ones, but there is one rather soggy area where I'm always certain to find them.   And there they were!

I know where to look for Canada Violets, too, tucked among jumbles of limestone boulders.  I love the dark purple stripes emerging from the bright yellow throats of these snowy white violets.  Note, too, the dark purple color of the unopened buds.

Traces of that purple remain on the back of those snowy petals.

Rarely can I manage to capture in a single photo the tiny white flowers and maple-shaped clasping leaves of Miterwort, but these plants were so small they actually fit in one frame.

Miterwort flowers deserve a much closer look, in order to marvel at their shape that resembles a snowflake in its intricacy.

Early Meadow Rue plants hold flowers that are either all male or all female.  These are the male flowers, with long anthers dangling on fine filaments that shimmer like windchimes in the slightest breeze.

Large-flowered Bellwort usually blooms a bit later than the Sessile-leaved Bellwort that we found just beginning to bloom at Moreau on Saturday.  So I was surprised to find the large-flowered species blooming abundantly all over the Skidmore Woods just yesterday.

Wood Anemone is one of these flowers that has no petals, but its sepals certainly resemble petals in their snowy whiteness.

Turn those flowers over, though, and see how prettily pink they are on the back!

I found only one Wild Geranium in bloom yesterday, but rest assured, their magenta blooms will soon be showing their pretty faces all over the woods before long.

When mature, the bright-green leaves on dark wiry stems make Maidenhair Fern immediately distinctive from all other ferns.  Its translucent baby leaves on Twizzler-red stems are pretty distinctive, too.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the bit of warmth that came over the woods yesterday.  What beautifully sinuous curves you have, dear little Garter Snake!


DeniseinVA said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up on your blog today. Not only for these incredible photos but also for the great information. It has been a very learning experience, thank you :)

sarah in the woods said...

I just have to keep looking at your picture of the maidenhair fern. It's incredible! I've never seen it at that stage, but I sure hope to!
Gorgeous snake too.

Andrew Lane Gibson said...

ah...this was like time traveling for me. these are all well past here but your gorgeous photos put them right back in my head.

The Furry Gnome said...

Such a wonderful selection of outstanding pictures! I'd say we're still a few days or a week behind your seasons, and I certainly haven't seen the variety that you have yet.

Wayne said...

What a banner day you had for beautiful photos of wildflowers! White Trillium blooming at the same time as bloodroot -- an odd year indeed.

Sharkbytes said...

Just discovered your blog. What fun! Love the maidenhair fern. I just found a huge patch of bloodroot, fully open today (in Michigan), but found your blog while searching out the cause of the Willow Cone Gall.

Sharkbytes said...

Ah... I see Furry Gnome is one of your readers. He and I follow each other too.

Anonymous said...

Great to see the wildflowers are finally in bloom. I too looked back at my photos and noticed that many flowers are 3 to 4 weeks late this year.

Anonymous said...

beautiful. i have never been to this trail but it looks so beautiful i may have to take a trip soon! i have been waiting to see a snake this spring, glad to see they are out and about. i love checking to see if my flower identifications are correct on your blog, thanks!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Dear readers, I do so appreciate you stopping by. Your thoughtful comments encourage me to keep at this blogging business. I love knowing you come along with me on my nature adventures.

catharus said...

'Some lovely pics!

Cincinnatus C. said...

Amazing to have names suddenly put to so many faces I see in the woods in central Ontario. Thanks so much!