Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Upon Spring

"I think I saw something with legs jump under that rock," my colleague reported from a few steps behind me. I laughed a little, and waited to see what critter came out from under the dolomite shelf. I was there to realign trail placement, originally placed to cut directly across a fragile glade and through an equally fragile woodland, so I was there to find an alternative that wouldn't compromise the integrity of the native ecosystems. While we were there, a rabbit jumped out on top the boulder and waited for a few minutes before scampering off into the woods. Rabbits, animals with legs. It jumped.

Through the restoration project, I saw big burned out spots where staff burned green cedars (which is desirable), and little Ophioglossum engelmanii coming up in the burn pile black. Also in the burn pile was Draba cuneifolia, a little mustard with bright white flowers, usually encountered during vegetation sampling when it's a straw colored twig with Brassicaceae seedpods of paper thin sheaths left behind after spring flowering.

He knew I was looking for signs of life in the glade restoration project area. I noted wide expanses with beautiful visages, but not much floristically, at least not yet.

We're still in winter here in Mid-Missouri, with traces of snowpack from Jefferson City down to Current River country, but in the clear for most of Hwy. 19 eastwards. My Oregon friend who wants to see all of Missouri's trout lilies may be in luck this year since we're having a normal spring, late March-early April for even southern Missouri wildflowers. I haven't seen my first trout lilies, but I've seen lots of the little yard weeds like Veronica polita and Cardamine pensylvanica.

Soon will begin the mad dash to see all the Bloodroots, the Anemones, the fast flowering, brightly colored Celandine Poppies and Bluebells in the Eastern Ozarks. In the Current River Hills, I saw no hide nor hair of Hepatica, of any of the Anemones, of Claytonia. We're tracking 20 degrees below normal temperatures lately in the Ozarks which certainly has some impact on our wildflower season. It will come soon enough, those warm spring days, and with a fast and furious pace. I hope my sluggish winter self can keep up.


Anonymous said...

I love your blogs Allison. You've got me itching to get out and stomp the hills in Reynolds County River country.

I did see a few Claytonia, Bluets and one stunted Violet blooming on a recently cleared, warm sunlit ridge in southern Lincoln County last week. Lower down the hill in the leaf litter, Dutchman's Breeches were just poking up, loaded with tiny buds, just waiting for a stretch of warm days. Morel season is just around the corner...

Allison Vaughn said...

Thanks so much for the kind words. I've missed the first flush as I'm in Louisiana for probate court for my mother's estate. Here, azaleas are in full bloom and the daffodils and amaryllis are a thing of the past. I saw my first of year Claytonia in my mother's yard today. Looking forward to hitting the woods when I get home next week. Much better than probate court.