The woods are coming to life! There are a fair number of wildflowers out, some of which I can identify, and others which boggle my mind. Maybe you all can help me with these plants?
The first plant I found appears to be some kind of cress. It was found in wet ground next to a stream in a forest clearing.
In the same place, I saw these yellow flowers. They have not grown any leaves yet at this point, and I have no clue what they are.
The next plant, I am almost certain, is Hepatica nobilis. The leaves are not visible in this picture, but they are quite distinctive. It was growing in deep shade. This plant was once considered a treatment for liver ailments because of the resemblance of it’s leaf to the human liver (The “Doctrine of Signatures”).
Just as deeply shaded was the wild columbine, a beautiful summer flower, which can easily be identified by its foliage and the fact that it can grow well on sheer rocks. There is no soil on this rock, just a layer of moss.
The last flower is purple, with a white and dark-purple star pattern deep inside. It lay close to the ground in deep shade, with a pair of immature leaves over it. I wonder what animal pollinates these flowers…
I noticed some interesting insects as well today. I found a ball of oak leaves on the ground, and first assumed it was part of a squirrel’s nest.
However, when I looked inside, I found it was packed with caterpillars. I don’t know the species, but it was cool nonetheless.
In the local bog, I found springtails. These small arthropods come out early in the spring, in large numbers. They contribute to decomposition of leaf litter. Early in springtime, they come out in huge numbers, and swarm to find mates.
Springtails are very common but not often noticed unless they congregate like this. They play major roles in both decomposition and control of microorganism levels in soil, so they are very useful to the ecosystem. Some species are agricultural pests, but the majority are purely beneficial.
~The Homesteading Hippy