Monday, April 21, 2014

It's spring flower week!

Rue anemone
The forest’s first, tiny ephemeral flowers are blooming at Roundtop. In addition to the yellow dog-toothed violets I found several days ago, I’ve now added bloodwort, rue anemone and coltsfoot. All of these flowers are small and easy to overlook.

Coltsfoot is the most obvious of the three new species I found yesterday, and even that one is easy to overlook. The flower looks so much like dandelion that I believe a lot of people overlook it because of that. But though the flowers are similar, the similarity ends there. Coltsfoot is taller that most dandelions and the plant flowers before you find any leaves. Often, it is the first new flower I find in the spring, but not this year.

Bloodwort is another tiny plant. The flowers are about half an inch and the waxy, clover-shaped leaves are perhaps 2-3 inches. An entire plant may be only 3-4 inches long. I found just two plants of this one, within 4-5 feet of each other. Likely, there are more that I haven’t found yet.

Rue anemone is a common plant in my forest. Every year I have multiple plants that vary in shade from white to a nice lavender. This plant is no larger than bloodwort but it grows much more densely, and I often find 10-12 plants in one area. Even a tiny flower is hard to overlook when so many are grouped together.

Finding spring’s first flowers is a true sign of spring, along with the appearance of that lovely little Eastern blue butterfly. This weekend I also had golden-crowned kinglets, ruby kinglets and a pair of very curious blue-gray gnatcatchers. For the first time this year, I finally feel confident that I can finally put those snow shovels away!


Anonymous said...

Hope you had a good Easter? Am learning so many things through blogging - never knew about coltsfoot till I saw it last week on a blog - it looks smaller and not as flat as a dandelion. Great to discover all these signs of Spring!

Sharkbytes said...

Huh, I have never heard hepatica called bloodwort. Interesting.

Pablo said...

Yep, I think spring is finally convinced it's time to arrive.

Granny Sue said...

And they're finally popping up everywhere--except the wild larkspur. I have yet to see any, and usually it's thick down at the mouth of our road. Worries me.

Carolyn H said...

Granny Sue: you don't have wildlarkspur. I don't have bloodroot. Worries me, too.

Carolyn H said...

Pablo: spring is arriving with a vengeance!

Carolyn H said...

Joan: What is called hepatica here is a different flower--leaves are not round and the flowers are usually paler

Carolyn H said...

Jeanette: I spent a lot of years not knowing about coltsfoot either. I just assumed it was dandelion without the leaves yet. I guess i'm a slow learner