Saturday, May 15, 2021

Favorite Flower Finds Along Bog Meadow Trail

More than a week had passed since I saw those swelling buds of Nodding Trillium along the Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail. And with the return of sunnier, warmer days this week, I suspected that those buds would have opened by now. So I dashed out there yesterday to see if my suspicions might be correct.

Bog Meadow Trail had become quite lush and lovely now, with the tree canopy leafing out and the trailside plants grown tall and beautifully green. At first glance down the trail, I saw no evidence of any flowers in bloom. But that perception was soon to change.

Sure enough, only a hundred yards or so along the trail I found the first Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum) in bloom, hiding well back beneath some thick shrubbery.  And not only was the plant well hidden, the flower itself was also hiding, face down beneath its wide spreading leaves.

Crouching low, I could look up into the face of this lovely flower and note both the long-filamented red anthers and the white ovary that are diagnostic for this not-so-common trillium species.

I found I had company among the trilliums: one yellow-striped, brown-eyed damselfly I couldn't identify, resting atop a broad trillium leaf.

UPDATE: Thanks to a well-informed reader, Bryan Pfeiffer, I can now put a name to this damselfly.  It's a newly emerged female Aurora Damsel (Chromagrion conditum).  Now I know why I could not find its image in my Odonata guidebook.  Newly emerged damselflies do not yet have the distinguishing colors they will acquire as adults. But Bryan knew!  Be sure to check Bryan's comment to this post, in order to gain access to his own remarkable and informative nature blog.

Nearby was a second flower I come here each mid-May to see, and it also blooms about the same time as those trilliums do. From above, the leaves of Rose Twisted Stalk (Streptopus lanceolatus) almost completely shield from view the small rosy bell-shaped flowers that dangle from the leaf axils.  Again, I had to crouch low just to see if the plant had come into bloom.  Yes it had!

Here's a closer look at those small rosy bells, which dangle on the twisted pedicels that suggested this native wildflower's vernacular name.

I was happy to see a number of other flower friends now coming into bloom. There were only a few of the tiny flowers of Grove Sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora) that had opened as yet, but soon the trailside grasses will be starred with abundant numbers of these pretty but diminutive blooms. You have to look very close to appreciate its rather furry pale-green interior.

Wild Geraniums (Geranium maculatum) also thrive along this trail in abundant numbers, but today I found just this one had opened its pale-lavender flower as yet. Believe me, there will be many, many more in the weeks to come!

Sadly, though, the season for admiring the remarkable interior structure of Goldthread flowers (Coptis trifoliata) will soon be over.  This is one of our earliest blooming wildflowers, and I felt lucky to find even this pair in presentable shape. I love the curlicue-tipped, spindle-shaped pistils and the lemon-lollipop-shaped petals of this small ephemeral flower.

Happily, though, the starry, pure-white flowers of Starry Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum) will be with us yet for a while, to judge from the number of buds that are still to open. When I first encountered this lovely wildflower along this trail more than 10 years ago, I counted 10 specimens, all confined to an area about 12 feet across beneath a large White Pine.  Today, there were more than a hundred in bloom, spread along the trail for a considerable distance, far from that original site.

We will soon see many more of the snowy-white blooms of Starflower (Lysimachia borealis) along Bog Meadow Trail, for this beautiful aptly-named wildflower loves this shaded woodland habitat.  Today, though, I found just this one. For simple pure beauty, I believe this elegant native wildflower wins the prize.

I continued walking along the trail, past the bridge over the Bog Meadow Brook, past the open marsh,  and on into a deep-green woods, where pools of water occupy both sides of the trail. This is Highbush Blueberry territory, and blooming shrubs pressed close to the edge of the trail.  The bell-shaped white blooms of the tall Vaccinium corymbosum shrubs are pretty enough in their own right, but today I was drawn to notice the lovely colors -- deep purple and forest green -- of the sepals that hold the flowers.  Add the cherry-red bud scales and the maroon-edged leaves, and this little cluster of blooms presents quite a colorful spectacle!

As the trail moved closer to the tree-shaded open pools, I was surprised to find such a glorious display of Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) still blooming, for this is one of our earliest flowers to bloom in spring. Lovely, yes, but they readied me for the even more delightful surprise I was about to encounter next.

Bog Buckbean! And dozens of them!  And beautifully in bloom!  I discovered this very attractive water plant in this very pool a dozen years ago, but some years I find not a trace of it, some years I see just the leaves, and other years just one or two plants in bloom.  But never have I seen such an abundance of plants in beautiful flower.  This was my lucky day!

Here's a closer look at those Bog Buckbean flowers, adorned with lots of curly hairs on the petals and pretty pink buds to boot.  A lovely find to top off an already wonderful flower-packed walk along Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail.


Bryan Pfeiffer said...

Hi Jackie,

I'm a big fan of the blog -- every post. Your damselfly is a newly emerged (teneral) female Chromagrion conditum (Aurora Damsel).

All the best,
Bryan Pfeiffer

The Furry Gnome said...

I think I've seen most of those except the Rose Twisted Stalk. You sure got a bunch of great photos!

Woody Meristem said...

Beautiful flowers and photographs to match. You're fortunate to have such wonderful places to botanize.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Brian Pfeiffer, thanks so much for your kind words about my blog, as well as contributing the right name to the damselfly. I will add an update to my post to share that information with my readers. I also want especially to thank you for your comment, because I could simply click on your highlighted name and visit your own marvelous blogs, which feature great stories about nature, accompanied by amazing photographs. I will be visiting often.

Furry and Woody, my dear loyal commenters, I am always grateful and glad to know you come along with me through this blog. I sure do appreciate your generous comments, and I encourage my readers to click on your names to find your own fascinating blogs.