Sunday, March 1, 2015

Later Winter, Early Spring

Looking at the forest in our hollow today, one might be tempted to look at all the shades of gray and brown and then conclude that winter's grip is still strong and spring is a long way off. A closer look would show that you're very wrong. We may still have more snow on the way, but spring is growing impatient and is about to bust out all over.

And I am so ready to get out for a weekend of backpacking! I'm not quite sure when that will be, but it needs to soon.

Though very plain and very tiny, Harbinger-of-Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) is aptly named as it is often the earliest of all wildflowers. With petals of only 1 /8 inch long, this tiny flower is overlooked by most people. This plant is also sometimes called "Salt & Pepper," describing the black and white coloring of the diminutive flowers.

Emerging Cutleaf Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata)

Sharp-Lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) waiting for warming soil to sign time to bloom. Interestingly, this is last year's leaf that has overwintered and provided nourishment to the plant's root long into the autumn.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), another plant whose leaves last through the winter. These overwintering leaves photosynthesize on warm winter days and provide the plant with a jump start in the spring. The old leaves will die back later in the spring as the fern puts out new growth.

Emerald green moss soaking up moisture and light at the base of couple of
Tulip Poplars reminding me that St Patrick's Day is right around the corner.

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