We didn't have a brutal winter, at least weather-wise, but the corona virus has more that offset the milder weather and has guaranteed that cabin fever this year is at its highest level ever. But with spring in the air, it's time to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. The Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group is happy to offer a visual taste of spring with this collection of our local seasonal flowers. Some are native, some are exotic, but not invasive, and a small number are quite beautiful but dangerously invasive. We hope you enjoy the photos, but most of all, we hope you can get outdoors to enjoy some of these wonders up close.
Yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum) puts up a single straight 6" stalk topped by a nodding six-part flower, yellow or bronze to reddish-brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. Each plant has a pair of long (6" or less), narrow leaves emerging from the base, mottled maroon/brown on a green background.
This spring ephemeral grows in dense colonies of plants, each with three leaves and a single white flower. Though the scientific name quinqefolia suggests a plant has 5 leaves, each has only three. A leaf is, in turn, composed of three leaflets, two of which often have deep lobes that make the leaves appear to have 5 leaflets. The flowers have 4 to 9 (typically 5) white to pinkish-white petals. A single plant may take 5 years or longer to flower, so often only a few flowers are seen among the leaves.
The bright white, multi-petaled flowers of bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis last only one or two days. Most flowers have eight petals, but 10-20 are possible. This plant gets its name from the red juice of its rhizomes and roots.
Cut-leaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) is a spring ephemeral of the mustard family. Among the earlier wave of spring flowers. Stems are 6-12" tall, topped with a cluster of small, four-petal white or pink flowers. The name refers to tooth-like projections found on the underground stems.
Rue anemone (Anemonella thalictroides) is a delicate-looking early spring plant. It pokes through through brown leaves from the previous fall. The “petals” are actually sepals so they continue to bloom for a longer period of time. Rue anemone is similar in appearance to false rue anemone (Isopyrum biternatum) which has white blooms with five sepals. Both are found in the same habitats. Rue anemone dies back in mid-summer making it a true spring ephemeral.
Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) at 12-15" tall stands a bit above most other spring flowers that boom in dappled shade woodlands. While the flowers may appear to have five petals, those petals are really five lobes of a single corolla. Very fragrant.
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria flowers early in the spring when sunlight penetrates to the woodland floor before the canopy of the trees fills in. This is an ideal time for the first emerging bumblebees to find and nectar on the flowers. By early summer, the green foliage (which resemble fern-like leaves) will fade to a light yellow, eventually going into total dormancy by mid-summer. The common name Dutchman's breeches comes from the pair of outer petals which form a swollen 'V' making the hanging flower look like a pair of white breeches/pantaloons hanging upside-down.
Another similar species called squirrel corn has almost identical foliage but flowers more like their cousin, bleeding heart.