Last week was a lovely slice of May, filled with beautiful days, birdsong, and wildflowers. (And yes, I’m exempting Mother Nature’s snowy snit over the weekend. The flakes melted as they landed, and our electricity came back on after only an hour or so—I’m willing to overlook it.) Today, I share the photos I took when I should have been writing last week’s post. That way, my slacking off becomes research.
Wildflowers can be found almost anywhere at this time of the year, but some of my favorites inhabit the wet woods behind my house. In the photo above, a patch of moss sets off the shy beauty of Goldthread (Coptis trifolia), which is named for the color of its underground stem. Another tiny white flower, Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius), decorates a pile of dead leaves close by.
If you’re not near a forest, look for blossoms in a nearby lawn or field. Wild Oats (Uvularia sessliifolia), a member of the Lily family, brightens a shaded area of our backyard.
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria Virginians), also found in a mossy spot, taunts us with the faint hope that a few berries might escape the wildlife that has already left tooth marks on random petals. The vandals have not yet marred this specimen’s blossom.
Spring wouldn’t be complete without a Violet. This delicate plant, which keys out to Kidney-Leaved Violet (Viola renifolia), is sprinkled throughout much of our lawn.
And there are always the truly hardy blooms that pop up between bricks and pavers. I’m sure you know the flower below, which is so common that the word is part of its name. Although Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has spread across the United States, it is not a native. It originally hailed from Europe.
Sources for this post:
Magee, DW and HE Ahles. 2007. Flora of the Northeast. 2nd ed. University of Amherst Press, Amherst.
Newcomb, L. 1977. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.