Early spring wildflowers, the spring ephemerals, are vivid reminders of the fragile beauty and existence of life on earth. They tease and please with spectacular, short-lived blooms. They always leave us wanting more, and we’re quite willing to wait another year for another show. It never gets old.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier), a small flowering tree
Marsh Marigold in the wet soil along a small stream
White Trillium, a woodland wildflower favoring rich, moist soils (1 of 2)
Red Trillium in filtered light on a rich woodland site
The better part of my Mother’s Day walks were spent looking into the sun, sometimes by design, but often due to circumstances beyond my control. Needless to say, the effects were transformative and the experience enlightening!!!
Red Squirrel (hiding from me)
Warbler (foraging for insects on the new foliage of Sugar Maple)
Birch tree and clouds in evening sun
Black Willow trees (light green color) in a wetland
Spring in the North, you gotta love it! Galleries of world class images can’t fully capture the moments; there are too many intangibles whirling around, evading descriptive words and fancy gear. The last 72 hours have left me with a flood of memories, some made a bit more lasting with visual reminders. Mom would have loved this post!
Many of the early spring wildflowers can be found on short walks in woodland habitats where soils are reasonably moist, fertile and undisturbed.
In this immediate area, the Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) bloom has peaked, Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is approaching full bloom, and the flower buds of Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) are just starting to open. The vivid colors of these species are a welcome contrast to our extended period of overcast skies and cool, rainy weather!
In late April and early May I look for trilliums (or hope for a call from a friend to tell me they’ve started to bloom). It’s a rite of spring. They’re among the first and most visible of the woodland wildflowers to bloom and are easily identified by their large three-leaf and three-petal form. The Trillium bloom signals the bloom of bellwort, Trout Lily, violets, Marsh Marigold, Bloodroot and other spring wild flowers as well.
I know of three species of trillium in the area: White (Large-flowered), Red (Wake-robin, Birthroot or Purple Trillium) and Painted Trillium. White Trillium is the largest and most abundant, sometimes forming spectacular carpets across the forest floor. I may find a handful of Red Trillium in a carpet of thousands of White Trillium, something I can’t explain. Both occur on rich woodland sites that are usually dominated by Sugar Maple and a variety of hardwood associates.
Deer and livestock can devastate wild flower populations, and the trilliums are no exception. 25 years after cattle grazing was discontinued on my property, I discovered my first Red Trillium, but the blossoms were soon browsed by deer. I was determined to win the battle and protected the remaining plant with a small garden fence. It is now thriving and several plants are currently in bloom. This experience explains, in part, why I often find an abundance of wildflowers on rugged, steep hillsides near roads – places where deer pressure is low and livestock are absent.
Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)
Red (Wake-robin, Birthroot, Purple) Trillium (Trillium erectum)
White (Large-flowered) Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
A woodland carpet of White Trillium; Quinn’s Woods