The Hummel Nature Trail in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania is a wide, gravel-covered trail that follows the Swatara Creek for a short distance. The footing seems easy enough for anyone and the distance to the trail is a short one from the parking lot next to a baseball diamond. The trail is very popular as a dog walk and nature trail.
The low lands next to the creek are home of an awesome display of Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica, in mid to late April. Photos taken 18 April 2011.
Spring beauties, Claytonia virginica, can be seen in many places along the trail. Spring-beauty has small, five-petaled white flowers that rise up only a few inches off the ground. The plant is a trailing one with long, wide, grass-like leaves. Several flowers bloom in succession on one plant.
Take a walk along a creek near you or find a trail in a nearby park. Leave us a comment if you find Virginia Bluebells or Spring Beauty.
Spring beauty, Claytonia virginica, is one of the first Spring Ephemeral flowers that I learned to recognize. It is a dainty little flower with five petals and stamens. The anthers at the tips of the stamens are pink, which seems to add to its delicate nature.
The loose clusters of spring beauty flowers may have one or more open blossoms and several other blossoms hanging down that are either spent or have yet to bloom.
Blossoms have five white rounded petals, many that have gray to pinkish lines, like the flowers in the image above. The whole flower may have a tinge of pink in addition to the pink anthers at the top of the five stamens.
Spring beauty can be found blooming en masse from middle to late April in central Pennsylvania. The dandelion was included in the image above for scale.
(Click on any of the images to see a larger view.)
Spring beauty gets about as tall as the grass and its linear leaves help to hide it among the grass. The flowers in the image above seemed to be coming out of hiding as they started to bloom for the day. Their blossoms weren’t all the way open, yet. Note the pink anthers and lines on the petals in these loose clusters of spring beauties.
Photos of this common spring ephemeral flower above were taken 18Apr2010 at Little Buffalo State Park near the covered bridge.
I was a little surprised to see it still flowering a couple weeks later. The above photo was taken 30Apr2010 in the same area. That makes the little spring beauty one of the longest lasting spring ephemeral flowers that I’ve ever seen.