Miterwort Flowers Like a Bishop’s Cap

Walking the Mill Race Trail at Little Buffalo State Park one can see many Spring-flowering plants in the months of April and May.

Miterwort, Mitella diphylla, is one of the early to mid-Spring bloomers and a member of the Saxifrage family.

Miterwort flowering creek-side 6 May 2014.
Miterwort flowering creek-side 6 May 2014.

Stalked basal leaves and a pair of conjoined leaves at middle of single flowering stem will easily identify miterwort.

Young miterwort plants having basal leaves and a central stem with a loose terminal cluster of flower buds.
Young miterwort plants having basal leaves and a central stem with a loose terminal cluster of flower buds.
Miterwort flowers on a single stem.
Miterwort flowers on a single stem.

The beautifully fringed flowers are in a terminal cluster,

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Yellow Downy Violets Bloom by the Creek

Yellow violets are fairly common around the same areas where you’ll see wild ginger, skunk cabbage and other creek-side flowers.

Like other violets yellow violet flowers have five petals and a spur, so the blossoms are easily recognized as a kind of violet.

As an aid to identification violets can be separated into two groups: stemmed violets and stemless violets. Stemmed violets bear their leaves and flowers on the same erect stalk. Stemless violets have flowers and leaves on separate stalks.

Yellow Stemmed Violets
Yellow Stemmed Violets

After placing your violet in the stemmed or stemless categories, inspect the leaf shape and look for

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Gender Specific Lemony Flowers of Sassafras

In early to mid-Spring Sassafras shrubs and trees produce flowers before their leaves are fully developed.

Lemony yellow flowers cluster together near the ends of branches in roundish clumps. The clusters of blossoms can be seen from a distance against the backdrop of the browns and grays of the awakening forest.

Sassafras trees and shrubs are noted by branched clusters of yellow flowers surrounding a set of new leaves.
Sassafras trees and shrubs are noted by branched clusters of yellow flowers surrounding a set of new leaves.
The yellow clusters on the small trees on the right are Sassafras blossoms.
The yellow clusters on the small trees on the right are Sassafras blossoms.
Lemony yellow Sassafras flower clusters can be seen from a distance where the woods meet a field.
Lemony yellow Sassafras flower clusters can be seen from a distance where the woods meet a field.

The sexes are separate so that certain shrubs or trees will have male flowers and others will have female flowers.

Sassafras blossoms look very similar, but overall the male flowers

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit Hides in a Thicket

Skunk cabbage leaves came out of the ground preformed like rolled up cigars at least a month ago and they seem to be getting bigger by the day. Heck, they are so big now you can easily see them from the road as you’re driving.

Taking walks by the creek the last two weeks we saw many similar ‘rolled cigars’ that were just poking out of the ground, so at first we didn’t know what plant it was. The skunk cabbage leaves were already bigger than a dinner plate and obviously past their time of sprouting up out of the ground. Then, I looked down on one of the first of these plants to completely come out of the ground and knew that these spikes of vegetation were to become the aerial parts of Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum.

Usually, you’ll see the striped hoodie and three leaves when you notice this plant.

Looking down on Jack-in-the-Pulpit one sees the top of the folded over spathe and a tall leaf with three leaflets.
Looking down on Jack-in-the-Pulpit one sees the top of the folded over spathe and a tall leaf with three leaflets.

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Wild Ginger Blossoms Hide Near the Creek

Wild Ginger is native to the Eastern U.S. and Canada and can be found blooming in early to mid-Spring. The blossoms aren’t the showy kind though. Indeed, one has to seek them out.

Most of us won’t casually notice the flowers of wild ginger because they bloom at ground level. The flowers are found blooming under the umbrella of the large heart-shaped leaves.

Wild ginger in the dappled sunlight of the forest near a creek.
Wild ginger in the dappled sunlight of the forest near a creek.

The short flower stem and back of one flower can be seen in the upper left and one flower is facing us on the far right. (Click on any image to see a larger view.)

The flowers of wild ginger plants are

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Tiny Blue Forget-Me-Nots in a Parking Lot

Looking for any blooming weed will have you seeing flowers everywhere. Even in parking lots!

Check out these tiny blue forget-me-nots that were blooming in the rocky parking lot at Little Buffalo State Park, near the swimming pool area. This rugged little plant survives growing up in gravel, being stepped on and driven over. You could say it’s hardy, for sure.

Strict Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis stricta, growing in a gravel parking lot.
Strict Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis stricta, growing in a gravel parking lot.

You’ll only see this little plant if

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Yellow Corydalis Hides Among the Violets

I don’t know why I was expecting something bigger, but when I saw this little yellow-flowering plant I was excited and a little disappointed at the same time.

The color and shape of the flowers told me I was looking at Corydalis. I was still excited to see another new plant, even though it was a small one.

The whole plant of Corydalis is diminutive, from the full size and height to the leaves to the irregular flowers. Its small size lets this Spring Ephemeral hide among

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Squirrel Corn Blooms in Pure White

With a name like Squirrel Corn my first thought wasn’t of a spring flowering plant, but it’s real!

A delicate-looking perennial plant that blooms in early to mid-Spring is commonly called Squirrel Corn. It supposedly gets its name from the yellow underground tubers that resemble kernels of corn. Not sure why “squirrel” is in the name! Perhaps squirrels eat the tubers or play a part in transplanting them.

Squirrel Corn, Dicentra canadensis, is native to Eastern United States just like the Dutchman’s Breeches that it was blooming near.

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