Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring comes to Crowley's Ridge


Plants of the uplands are so dramatically different from bottomland species. Traditionally, serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is the first understory shrub to bloom in upland habitats; serviceberry is also called shadbush because it blooms when the shad on the Atlantic coast begin their spring runs.

As soon as the mayapples come up, it's morel time. We need a good rain and warm temperatures for morels to come out, but for now the mayapples are poking through the leaf litter..

The best peaches in the state of Missouri are grown on Crowley's Ridge, right next to the state park's border, in fact. Knowing how often the farmers spray their peaches for bugs and fungus, I wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. The peach trees are pruned so severely that they only vaguely resemble trees. The Bader family pulled out 25 year old trees this year and planted a crop of winter wheat in their place.
Finally, a carpet of Claytonia virginiana, or "Spring beauty."
You can click on the pictures for a larger view, by the way. A couple of them look better enlarged.

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