Not your typical wildflower

Let the microscapes begin!

Early Riser (skunk cabbage)

Not the most beautiful or delicate of wildflowers, but one of the first to appear.  I went wandering in one of the many nature preserves in Andover, Massachusetts the other day and one section of the swamp was covered with skunk cabbage.  I read that they can come up so early because they actually generate heat with their cellular respiration and can melt snow.  Amazing.  Oh and I just saw the photo on the wikipedia page – creepily similar to mine.

I found this one just off the wooden walkway and was struck by the excellent mossy foreground.  I’d been scanning for a plant to photograph and none looked so well-situated.  The big tree as background and the afternoon sun lighting up the flower itself were perfect to help this shot work.  I debated whether to leave last year’s flower in or not, but since I’d already tidied up the scene by removing some distracting twigs, I left it.

I didn’t see the spider thread when I shot it, but I like it now I do.  Ditto for those tiny sprouts near the main plant itself.  Amazing what is revealed in these kinds of photos and one of the reasons I keep doing them.  This one I basically handheld, but kept the lens hood on the moss itself to anchor the camera.  My husband looked on bemusedly.  He’s used to it.


6 responses

  1. Pat

    Splendid shot!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

  2. Great detail and composition. What a strange cabbage, like something from the alien movies from the 50s.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

  3. a total stunner

    April 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

  4. very nice. i like the spider thread too … looks like its pulling the bloom to the side.
    kind of a creepy flower, isnt it?

    April 12, 2011 at 6:46 am

  5. thanks peeps. Yeah, skunk cabbage is a bit weird, the flower part most of all. Once the leaves fully develop, they look more normal and more cabbage-y. It doesn’t wrap into a tight ball, but the leaves are loose and pretty. I often see false hellibore right alongside.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

  6. I’ve love to see it when it grows up…cheers! ^_^

    April 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

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