Thursday, April 18, 2013

Early spring forest

Rue Anemone
This must be flower week for Roundtop. The spring ephemerals are popping up all over the forest. Today’s flower is rue anemone, which has gone from just a few blooms to dozens, if not hundreds of them, all around the mountain. These are small plants, no more than 4-5 inches tall, and if you are not careful, you can easily step on them. This was a nice little bunch of them. Often, only a single flower is seen or perhaps two. Sometimes I come across a small patch of them, where I will find 6-8 blooms scattered in an area of perhaps 5 ft. x 3 ft. Even then they are not always easy to spot.

Other than the small flowers on the forest floor, the overall view around the forest as a whole does not look particularly spring-like. Some trees have buds that look suspiciously large, but many are still as bare as winter. The other evening I walked deep into the forest and sat for a while, enjoying the warm weather. Wind through the trees made the most sound. A few crows called in the distance and one pileated woodpecker, but that was all.

The chorus of woodland birds was silent, so I listened to the wind and enjoyed the view from my perch on a conveniently-located boulder. In a few short weeks, the forest will be so lush that I won’t be able to see very far. But last evening, from my boulder along the edge of the mountain’s side, I could see both above the forest canopy and the forest floor below me, the ground rolling away to bottom out along Beaver Creek. That expansive view won’t last much longer, so I wanted to enjoy it one last time or perhaps the next to last time before the vegetation hides it until late fall.

For the moment, the forest spring is best seen in the small and up-close plants that are pushing through the detritus of last fall’s leaves. The large plants of the forest still have a ways to go before they reflect much of the new season.


Scott said...

Our woods are mostly still winter-like, too, Carolyn, but the non-native shrubs (and especially the multiflora rose) are going gangbusters. So, the woods are a bit weird--open and brown on the tops, and lush and green closer to the ground.

Not much rue anemone to be found here, either.

Carolyn H said...

Here, the multiflora rose isn't out yet, but other than that the non-native plants are the ones mostly in bloom. Have you had any warblers yet? They've been strangely absent here this year.