Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring ephemerals

violet (viola canadensis)

In the world of botanical-ease, the earliest wildflowers are called "ephmerals" because they are quite fragile and, unfortunately, short-lived. My part of the world plays host to numerous species of wildflowers, many of which bloom and thrive in my 11 acres of woods; many are pretty enough for the gardens around the house. In honor this glorious spring day, I have taken a walk around the property and snapped some images to share with you of the earliest spring flowers. Some of the flowers are literally here today, gone tomorrow, which puts a whole new twist on the notion of carpe diem. We would all do well to follow their example and allow ourselves to bloom unabashedly, without apology or hesitation, when the time for doing so is upon us.

the entrance to the woods

toothwort (dentaria sp.)


bloodroot (sanguinaria canadensis): so called because the juice from the root stains one's skin bright red.

the toothwort and bloodroot-covered hillside

trout lily (epimedium sp.)

fragile fern ( I don't know the latin name for this)

virginia bluebells (mertensia virginiana) in the backyard
The term "wildflower" is s bit misleading, as some plants believed to be wild are, in truth, weeds that have naturalized. They have moved in and made themselves at home. Common names for flowers can be quite charming, I think. They harken back to older, simpler times. Many have the suffix "wort", as in toothwort, attached, which simply means plant. For those of you with a scientific bent, only latin names will do. Some species, like corydalis, are only known by their latin name anyway. All of the plants I have shown you today are native to this part of the world, eastern and upper-south of the U.S. They are the true wildlings that blanket the hill sides and valleys of the fertile woodlands where I live. Some are as lovely as any cultivated garden flower, such as the bluebells, which have held a special place in my heart since my early childhood.

I hope you have enjoyed this bit of botanizing with me. As the spring progresses, I will keep you updated to changes occurring on the forest floor. Some flowers are just emerging from their long slumber. By this time next week, it will be a completely different picture.
Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. A sincere thank you to all the wonderful people who stopped by and left gracious comments. I am so appreciative! I feel as if embraced by kindred spirits. It is wonderful to have such inspiring women to share with and to learn from. So glad to have met you all!


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