Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Signs of Spring

This week's warm weather has things a-poppin'. The once drab brown forest floor is coming alive with wildflowers. Here are some of the highlights from this past weeks forays.

Right outside the building, in the bird feeder area, are a couple of patches of Wood Poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum. Only one was blooming yesterday. Today, there were probably 20 or more blooms! What a difference a day can make!

Dutchman's Breeches, named after the old fashioned bloomers, were out in full force. Such a lovely little flower. It is pollinated by bumblebees, which are the only bees with a long enough tongue to reach the nectar.

Just out today, Squirrel-corn, Dicentra canadensis. With its heart-shaped blossoms, it looks like a white version of Bleeding Heart.

The common name comes from the yellow nodules that are found on the roots. These are found just below the surface of the ground next to the flower stalk.

Another welcome sight, Prairie Trillium, Trillium recurvatum. Although, "prairie" is in the name, it is actually found in the woods. Its name comes from the prairie region with many of the plants found in Illinois and the surrounding states. According to USDA Plants database, it is a rarity in Ohio, with it found in only one county

There are only a few Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, lingering. Most of the blossoms are short-lived with rain and wind easily knocking the petals off.

And here is why it is called Bloodroot. A cross-section of the root shows the crimson sap. This sap was traditionally used to dye cloth and as war paint.
If you haven't witnessed the spring ephemeral show this year, yet, go to your neighboring woods and do so soon!


Chani said...

Thanks. The kids found squirrel- corn this week when we stayed at hueston woods. I told them it looked like a white bleeding heart but I didn't know what it was called. Chandra

Janet Creamer said...

Great, Chandra! Hope I get to see you and the kiddos sometime soon!