Signs of Spring

Everything is late this year. Including this post featuring my beloved spring ephemerals. We’ve got the usual, plus a few new comers. Well, new to me. They’ve been in the yard the whole time, but I’ve only just noticed them this year.

The first one is cutleaf toothwort (cardamine concatenata) and here it is in bud. Isn’t it great?

Always something new

It’s part of the brassicae family (mustards etc) and this is what it looks like when it blooms –

Cutleaf toothwort

There is another species, apparently rarer in this part of the world, called broadleaf toothwort –

Broadleaf toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)

I had no idea they were related. The flowers are basically the same, but the leaves are so different I didn’t associate them at all. They grow in the yard and flower at the same time. The broadleaf variety is VERY important to the West Virginia White Butterfly because it lays eggs on it for the resulting caterpillars to eat. They sometimes confuse this plant with the nasty invasive, garlic mustard, and the caterpillars die. Just another reason to destroy garlic mustard every time you see it.

Here’s another one I just noticed –

Ranunculus abortivus (Little-leaf Buttercup)

Also known as kidney-leaf buttercup. At first I thought it was two plants – the tall one growing in the middle of a violet plant, but it’s all one. I haven’t noticed any more, but I’ll keep an eye out and try for a better picture. It’s been so windy that this kind of photography is just more frustrating than fun.

Moving on to the old favorites; hepatica in all its lovely shades.

Unfolding beauty
When you finally told me
The healers gather

Those are all round-lobed varieties. They are so cheery on trailside where everything else is mostly brown and tan.

Oh and another first for me –

Two hearts

It’s wild ginger! I almost walked right by it, but those leaves drew me in for a closer look. There was a whole bunch of it growing where I found it, but very few with flowers. Glad this one was right against the trail and not caught in undergrowth like the rest which would have made it very hard to photograph.

Another, slightly later, spring ephemeral is wood anemone. It’s so lovely, but ubiquitous and often gets overlooked.

Take my heart

I think I read that the reddish color on leaves is a protection against cold and insects. There were some plants with leaves like this, but others were bright green.

A pest’s partner

Another flower that practically blankets the forest floor is the white trillium. It’s big, showy and our State Wildflower.

Official beauty

Even though I was in good marsh marigold habitat, the only place I found them was on the roadside. Go figure. They always make me smile.

Pollinator’s delight

And a tiny wood violet just because –

A speck within a sphere

4 thoughts on “Signs of Spring

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  1. Wow! The first 8-10 were new to me. How I envy you having so many trillium — and that is a HUGE marsh marigold. Wonderful to see them all.

    1. Thanks Pat. The marsh marigold was so lovely I had to stop for it even though it was on the side of a dirt road. They’re so cheery. One of these days I’ll have to get a shot of a dense area of trillium. I swear I thought it was trash blowing around on the side of the highway the first time I saw them in the numbers we have here. Then I was relieved that it was only flowers!

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