Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Ephemrals at Nerstrand State Park

Below is a collection spring ephemerals from Nerstrand State Park.  Spring Ephemerals are woodland wildflowers that flower and typically complete most of their life cycle before the trees leaf out and block the sunlight.

With the cold weather we've been having, the spring ephemeral season has lasted much later than usual.  So there's still time to catch the show; head out to your local Maple-Basswood forest and enjoy!

Dwarf Trout Lily - Erythronium propullans

Minnesota's only endemic flower (meaning it is found only in MN), and an endangered one. Nerstrand is one of the few places where they can be found.  A ranger at the park was kind enough to point this one out. 

White Trout Lily - Erythronium albidum

These carpet the forest floor at Nerstrand.  Notice its purple-mottled leaf in the background

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis

Named for the red sap of the roots.

Wild Ginger - Asarum canadense

A close-up of Wild Ginger's beetle-pollinated, ground level flower.

 Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria

False Rue Anenome - Enemion biternatum

Formally known as Isopyrum biternatum

Wood Anenome - Anemone quinquefolia

Superficially resembles False Rue Anenome, but the flowers grow singly.

Marsh Marigold - Caltha palustris

A marsh flower, not strictly woodland.  And I'm not sure if it would be considered a spring ephemeral because I think the leaves last into the summer.  But it blooms along with the spring ephemerals, so here it is.

Hepatica - Hepatica sp.

The flowers open before the leaves unfurl.

Early Meadow Rue - Thalictrum diocum

This plant and the previous four plants are all in the Buttercup family, Ranunclaceae.  The buttercups are one of the more primitive groups of flowering plants.  I wonder why this family is disproportionately represented amongst the spring ephemerals?  

Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica

It has small, edible bulbs (corms), but I think you should just enjoy it visually and not gastronomically.

Trillium - Trillium sp.

The various species of Trilliums are usually a little bit later than some of the other spring ephemerals and weren't in bloom yet.