Isn’t this a lovely bloom? The flower is about 1.5 inches across, and as you can see, it has no leaves. It’s just this gaudy bloom bursting onto the forest floor. I don’t really know what it is, though I have a theory, perhaps a half-baked theory. The flower is right next to many, many mayapples. And to me, the bloom looks like a mayapple bloom.
So here are the odd parts. 1) Mayflowers bloom underneath a wide canopy of the mayapple leaves. The stalk rises, the plant splits into one or more stems, at the end of each is a large green leaf that serves to create an umbrella-like shade. The blooms appear where the plant splits into the several leaves or about halfway between the ground and the leaf. The blooms are shaded by the leaves, and you really have to crawl under the plant to see the blooms. Now above (or even below) this flower, you can see there are no leaves of any kind. 2) Mayflower leaves are up and covering the woods, but not a single one of them is blooming yet. The flowers are all still in bud.
Still, somehow, I suspect this is a mayapple bloom. The early bloom might be explained by the fact that this little bloom is getting full sun, and the regular mayapples are mostly shaded by their plant’s large leaves. I sure can’t explain the no leaves part, though.
The second photo shows how this little plant is positioned among several of the other, still nonblooming mayapple plants. If anyone has a dissenting or better idea as to what this bloom is, I’d love to hear it.