Carol Wolfe Photography

Woodland Spring 2

My Photography
Composing Photos
Cats and Critters
UP Michigan
Smoky Mountains
South Carolina
Western US
Jersey Shore
Woodland Spring
Woodland Spring 2
Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Ferns, Mosses, and Mushrooms
Woodland Fall

Dutchman's Breeches

Spring Beauty

Large Flowered Trillium

New May Apple Flower

Wildflowers of Spring
Click on this link to see the TABLE OF CONTENTS, which lists the wildflowers on this site. (Please note, I have not uploaded everything yet, but plan to work on this during the summer of 2008.)

Spring Beauty Claytonia virginica
Spring beauty sprouts during early spring, often appearing when the forest floor still has patches of snow. The influorescence takes the form of raceme, a series of single flowers all on short "stems" that bloom sequentially, one or two or three at a time. Each flower has five petals, which are white with thin pink stripes that vary from very pale pink to nearly magenta. The petals can be somewhat oval in shape, or somewhat narrow. Starting at the bottom of the stem, the flowers bloom sequentially. On the first day, the flower opens in the male stage with stamens loaded with pink pollen. The next day the stigma becomes receptive, opening to accept pollen. By opening in stages, first male and then female, this encourages cross-pollination. Seeds form inside the ovary and are released when ripe. The seeds are dark brown with a fatty substance that encourages/rewards ants who carry them away into their homes, and thus disperse the seeds for the plant. The leaves are long and thin, similar to the shape of a grass blade, but rubbery and plump.


Early April Blossoms

Spring Beauty Sprouts in the Snow

Fading Flowers, Blooms, and Buds

Plump and Rubbery Leaf

Life on the Forest Floor

Petals Appear Shiny in the Sun

Flowers with Thin Petals

Female Stage (left) Male Stage (right)

Spring Beauty "Scenic"

Petals Can be Nearly Oval

Spring Beauty Side View

Bishop's Cap Seeds (here) are Similar in Appearance to Spring Beauty Seeds

Rue Anemone Anemonella thalictroides
This flower with pale purple-pink petals is a member of the buttercup family, as is Hepatica, whose flowers appear quite similar. The shape of the flower resembles a buttercup with about 6 to 10 petals. The leaves resemble those of blue cohosh and meadow rue. Rue anemone flowers have a characteristic arrangement that I refer to as "3+1." Typically, one flower blooms at the top of the plant, and below this top flower is a whorl of three flowers, slightly behind in development, but about the same size, color, and shape. Sometimes a flower does not develop and there is a "2+1" appearance. But more often than not, each plant has exactly four flowers in the "3+1" pattern I described.
In the photo to the right, the lower set of four flowers shows the classic "3+1" arrangement of a single plant. The two flowers above this are from another plant, and they show the top flower and one of the lower flowers.  In the latter case, notice that the lower flower is less fully developed than the top flower.


Early April Rue Anemone

Clump of Rue Anemone in Forest

Fading Hepatica (left) and Rue Anemone (right)


This shows the classic "3+1" arrangement of flowers on a single plant.

Wood Anemone Anemone quinquefolia
This small spring-blooming woodland wildflower, also a member of the buttercup family, has a solitary white (slightly pink) flower at the top of its stem. Beneath the flower, is a whorl of three deeply cut leaves. (The leaves are actually bracts.) The wood anemone typically grows 4 to 6 inches tall. There are several species of anemone, some of which are quite a bit taller and grow in sunny fields.


Wood Anemone Bud


Wood Anemone Bud

Trout Lily or Dog's Tooth Violet Erythronium species
There is a yellow version of this flower, as well as a white version. I have seen the yellow version in western Virginia, eastern PA, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and also the Smoky Mountains. I have seen the white species in eastern Iowa.
A key charactersistic of this plant is the "blade" shaped mottled leaves. This plant is often seen growing in groups (photos to be added soon), often a large patch of leaves with few flowers, or perhaps none at all. After getting pollinated, a fruit develops, as shown below.


Closeup of Trout Lily Flower

Trout Lily Flower Closeup

Trout Lily Flower, Showing Part of Leaf

Trout Lily Flowers

Developing Fruit, With Leaf in Back

Showy Orchis Orchis spectabilis
I have found this orchid in eastern Iowa, western Virginia, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and in the Smokies. The shots shown here are all from the Smokies. The plant grows well in moist, rich woodlands, and is often seen growing along the edges of streams.
During spring 2007, there was a late snowfall and hard frost (April 7-8). Orchis buds exposed to the harsh conditions survived to make flowers, but the flowers whithered within a day or two and were gone.


Showy Orchis

Frozen Buds, April 7, 2007

Buds, 2 Days After the Hard Frost

Frozen Flowers, April 7, 2007

Healthy Buds, 2 Days After Frost

Showy Orchis

Frost-Damaged Flowers, April 9

Larger Buds Frozen in the Snow

Showy Orchis

Here is a link to Woodland Spring 3, the next page in this sequence.
Here is a link to Woodland Spring, the previous page in this sequence.
Here is a link to Trilliums and Solomon Seals.

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