The toughest in the land

In northern Wisconsin we still get frost and freezing overnight temps well into May. What’s a demure beauty to do? Get tough. Spring beauty is one of the most hardy wildflowers we have and though it’s quite small and looks fragile, it survives almost anything Mother Nature can throw at it.

Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

In addition to frigid temperatures, spring beauty can, and does, flourish in nutrient-depleted areas like housing developments and deforested areas like farms. It’s pretty undemanding.

Pleasure's traces

Pleasure’s traces

Here in the yard though, there’s no skimping on soil nutrients, they grow in the lawn as well as in the woods where they have to push up through some very deep leaf litter.

They’re still blooming and I think I’ll have to go pick some because in addition to being adorable, they’re edible! The roots are actually tuberous, like potatoes, and it’s said they taste very similar, albeit sweeter and kind of chestnut-y so far as I could tell from info online. They can be eaten raw or cooked so I’ll have to get out there and get some while they’re at the peak of ripeness.

 

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7 responses

  1. Pat

    Lucky you! This used to be one of my favorite early wildflowers when I went camping in VT, but I haven’t seen it for years. If I found any, they’d be too precious to eat!

    May 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    • It’s crazy how many ‘rare’ flowers from my time in NH are all over my yard. Right now great trillium is blooming all over. Like weeds they cover the forest floor. If you look quickly, it’s like someone dumped some trash all over, but no, just big, white flowers.

      May 23, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      • Pat

        I wonder if NH gets more acid rain and things are disappearing? I used to have Clintonia, which I love, but I haven’t seen them in years.

        May 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      • I had found a lot of clintonia still in NH. There’s tons of it in the Bradford Bog and in Pulpit Rock (in Bradford and Bedford respectively) so I hope you can find it, too. There’s masses of it everywhere here in Northern Wisco including the yard, where currently some hooded merganser females are looking to nest in the trees that have hollows in them. Two trees and three females that I saw so who knows how that will shake out. I love my yard!

        May 25, 2016 at 8:56 am

      • Pat

        Thanks for the tips about where I might find Clintonia. I’m not familiar with the Bradford Bog — and I do love bogs, so I’ll have to check it out. Right now we are heading into the high 80s for the next umpteen days after a nice, cool spring. I hope the heat will kill off the black flies! 😉 And that’s exciting about the hooded mergansers. I’m sure I’d love your yard too!

        May 25, 2016 at 9:25 am

      • No problem. I also found them in the Fox state forest, which is in Hillsborough.

        May 25, 2016 at 2:13 pm

  2. I found a few of these spring beauties around the same time I found trout lily, fairly early in the season. They look so delicate and humble but are quite beautiful upon closer inspection. I had no idea they are edible (not that I ever find enough to want to pick any).

    May 29, 2016 at 10:48 pm

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