Sunday, April 14, 2013

April Delayed

One year ago today, I groused about the early spring, how mid-April 2012 was reminiscent of mid-May in previous years. The wildflower season began in February last year with the first sign of blooming witch hazel occurring in December. It wasn't just in the Ozark Highlands that spring came early, but in 2013, the opposite has happened in the Ozarks. By mid-April, the serviceberry flowers are usually long gone, and dogwoods and redbuds should be opening in time for all those dogwood spring festivals that happen annually in Missouri in mid-April. Unlike last year, the serviceberry in the Central and Western Ozarks burst into bloom only last week, about two to three weeks later than usual. And it's not just the serviceberry that's off schedule.

Heading to the southernmost part of the Ozarks, down in the Elk River Hills where you have to cross into Arkansas for coffee, the landscape after a not-too-hot November burn looked like this yesterday:

We found a number of spring ephemerals in bloom and some of the vegetative characteristics of the long lived perennial forbs like Coreopsis palmata and Monarda bradburiana, a couple of the plants that make this landscape so rich, but even as far as the Arkansas border, trees are barely even developing buds. While this situation made for a fast hike through the dry chert woods in the uplands to reach the moist bottoms where the false rue anemones and buttercups were in bloom, it made me a little grateful that even though I spent days in Louisiana last week, I didn't miss spring in the Ozarks.

See here for a post I wrote in 2011 with links to line illustrations of some of the more common spring wildflowers to brush up after a very long winter. And see below for some images from an April 13 hike. See! The ginger hasn't even started blooming yet!

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