A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Spring wild flowers

by Rae Jean

Spring of 2009 blessed us with many rain showers and a few wet snow flurries. These rain showers have been sorely missed the past few years by numerous beings, including the plants. After a few years of below normal precipitation, the woods at Earthaven came alive with an abundance of woodland flowering plants.

The last few years I located numerous rare and endangered plants. This year many of the usual places where they live have expanded with the emergence of numerous smaller plants. The rain helped spread their wealth, and hence, ours too.

First out, in March the Bloodroot pops up her lovely white flower. No leaf, this she curls around her stalk. You may find her with the flower open for only a few days, and then her leaf unfurls and becomes a wonderful wide hand of green waving at you in the brown duff.

Once the Bloodroot shows, the search begins for others, for the emergence of the Bloodroot is truly a rite of spring in these Appalachian woods.

Next come the Trilliums. They, for some reason, always find their way to the middle of a trail each spring. I spent a few years marking them with rocks or sticks, but have succumbed to moving them to another off-trail place nearby. Of course, not all end up in the trail and there are numerous gatherings of these beauties. The red flowered ones are called Wake-robin. Beth root or Birthroot are other names for the white and pink flowered varieties. They tend not to mix but rather to find their own separate patches. Many have increased the size of their patch.

Then the Trout Lilly’s leaves appear, with a low-growing variegated leaf that shimmers in the sun. Its speckled greens pop up in large patches that actually do look like a school of little brook trout swimming on the banks of the creek. Not all the leaves or patches bloom. This year the yellow orange blossom appeared in many more of the patches. A delicate little Lilly that is best appreciated lying on the ground and looking up into the bell of her flower – exquisite. Once these three announce that spring has arrived, Dogwoods and Carolina silver bell trees dot the woods with white while the Poplar trees peek green and the Maples show red.

In a the heat of the summer, many of these woodland flowers will disappear into the earth, and with them, our wishes for a long rest with dreams of Spring showers.

Rae Jean is a full member at Earthaven, and is developing a homestead in the Hawk Hollar neighborhood.

bloodroot, Hawk Holler, rain, spring, trillium, trout lilly

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