Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Spring Walk

Over the last few weeks I have been checking out the forest for signs of spring. The wildflowers are amazing! Each day I have been looking forward to seeing what will be in bloom.

Bloodroot is almost all bloomed out. It is such a delicate flower that a hard rainstorm can knock off all the petals.

Spring Beauties are such cute little flowers. The light pink stripes are nectar guides that help the pollinators locate the good stuff.

An early butterfly, Eastern Comma. The "comma" mark that gives it its name is on the underside of the wing.

Dutchman's breeches look like old time pantaloons lined up on a clothesline.

Scarlet Elf Cup, Sarcoscypha coccinea, with its brilliant red center. This fungus grows on decaying wood. Below is a pic of how it is attached to the branch.

Scarlet Elf Cup side view.

Wild Ginger with its interesting dark red flower. This flower is found near the ground so it can be pollinated by beetles and slugs.

Citronella Ants, most likely in the genus Lasius, emit a lemon/citronella like smell when disturbed.
Here is a closer look at the citrus-scented critters. They are pretty common and I often find them under logs or rocks at the park. Citronella Ants farm honeydew, a sweet liquid produced from aphids and subterranean insects. Many species of ants will "milk" the aphids and other insects by gently stroking them with their antennae until they produce the sweet liquid. The liquid comes from the insects feeding on the phloem of plants where the sweet sap is located.

Enjoy the wonderful spring weather this weekend and check out Indianapolis nature!



Jana said...

Bloodroot is my favorite wildflower this spring. Thanks for the picture.

dAwN said... cool ants the smell like citrus..
Does the blood root have yellow sap? I seem to remember that it did.

Interesting about the ginger having the flower near the ground so that it can be pollinated...Is this the wild ginger that people pick and sell?
Very nice blog Janet..