Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Comings and goings

Spring is a dramatic time, with new blooms opening virtually every day. Yesterday, the first of the native purple violets began to open. Tiny, with a deep shade of purple not seen in any other flower, the violets are still easy to overlook unless you happen to have a good-sized patch of them in front of you. When the plant is a singleton, in amongst the twigs and pebbles, they can be easily overlooked.

And while it’s easy to focus on the newest bloom of the week, it’s easy to overlook the blooms that are already fading. Bloodroot is gone the fastest, with only a day or two to bloom. But now the first bloom of spring, the coltsfoot, is done too.

Even as the blooms fade, the seed tufts of coltsfoot still resemble the dandelion that it is often mistaken for. The fuzzy tufts are not pure white, as are those of the dandelion, and the centers still retain a bit of their bright yellow blooms. But you have to look close to catch the difference.

The biggest difference is that even at this stage, the coltsfoot has yet to produce leaves. The leaves will only appear after the bloom stalk is gone. And that’s where the biggest visual difference with the dandelion is. The coltsfoot’s leaves don’t look anything like that other plant. If the leaves appeared with the bloom few would mistake the one plant for the other. But once the blooms are gone and the coltsfoot's leaves finally appear, there’s nothing about the leaves that are interesting enough to stand out amongst any of the others in the near-carpet of greenery that is the forest’s floor.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

I wish I could be in my forest more this time of year when so much is happening.