Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Spring!

Since this is the time of year when most Americans set out into the woods in search of wildflowers, I've cobbled together a handful of pictures of the most encountered spring ephemeral wildflowers of the Ozark Highlands. I'm forcing myself to highlight the woodlands...glades, prairies and even cliffs have their own suite of spring wildflowers, but mesic and dry mesic woodlands are significantly more common than these other communities. Most of these can be found in rich woods east of the Rockies, and all of them in the exquisite Ozark Highlands of Missouri. For a good wildflower guide, check out Edgar Denison's Wildflowers of Missouri, available at state parks and Conservation Nature Centers throughout Missouri.

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)forms a dense carpet along stream banks, where it shares the territory with mayapples and morels.

Trout lily springs from a small bulb every spring, often growing in clusters around ferns and sedges.

Related to the horticultural cultivars that come in reds and pinks every summer, wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) only comes in this exquisite pink. Usually found growing all alone, among other species, but seldom in clusters of its own.

The first plant to come up after a burn in the Ozark Highlands, wild phlox (Phlox divaricata)carpets the woodland floor.

One of the few brown flowers in nature, this trillium (Trillium recurvatum) is significantly more common in the Ozarks than the delicate white one found in the North Woods.

Finally, the host plant to the spicebush swallowtail, the first flowering shrub of the spring, spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Crush the leaves and they release this delightful, spicy smell that reminds me of the white spiced jelybeans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its good to see spring is springing somewhere.we are hunkered down in yet another snowstorm.theiceberg on the back deck has no chance of melting anytime soon.I love the spring down south.are the wisterias out yet? ab