Here are some flowers that are in bloom for Mother’s Day:

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Colt's foot (Tussilago farfara)

Colt’s foot (Tussilago farfara)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Even though this blog is mostly about nature, I sometimes take a tangent. Sometimes for a while. It has been a little while since I’ve done any nature posts, so today I hope to set things right.

I took a lap around my property today and was surprised to see so many plants in bloom.

First up was goldthread.

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)


This plant is also called canker root because it was reputedly a cure for mouth sores. I don’t know how efficacious it was, but that didn’t stop the colonials. The rhizome is a bright gold color, which is where its other name comes from. The white “petals” are really sepals. The actual
petals are those yellow-orange club-shaped things in the center.

I turned off my trail to look for some ferns, but instead found this:

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)


Blueberries! This was the only plant (out of hundreds) on my property that I found to be in bloom. It borders the neighbor’s land where he cleared all the trees in preparation for building a house. Maybe the added sunlight made them bloom sooner.

I went looking for this one too:

Pink Ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule)


It’s not in bloom yet, but I wasn’t expecting it to be. I looked for these last week (in this very spot) and didn’t find even a hint of it. I conclude therefore, that this is one week’s work for Lady Slipper.

I was in the middle of my woods looking for some trillium when I found this.

Sessile bellwort, or wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Sessile bellwort, or wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)


I did not sow them. They grew here by themselves. I didn’t find any trilliums either, but I’ll be camping with the Pathfinders this weekend, so maybe I’ll see some then.

This is one of my very favorites (though I say that about several plants).

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)


This morning I found a batch of them just exposing their petals, but the petals had not opened. This evening I found another batch with petals unfurled. This is such a fascinating looking flower. I know of nothing else even remotely similar.

Finally, there’s the dwarf ginseng.

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)


This plant has edible tubers, but it’s best to dig them after it goes to seed (because then the plant diverts its energy into the tuber for next year). The only problem is that the above-ground parts of the plant completely vanish, making these a lot more difficult to find. I have eaten them before, but not in quantity. I never harvest more than a plant colony can sustain, which in the case of this plant on my property is about four tubers per year. Not enough for a meal, but enough for a taste.

Today I noticed several plants in bloom that I hadn’t seen yet this season. Some of them are kinda early too, so I was really not expecting to see them in bloom yet. The first one was Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea). I didn’t get a picture of this because I just barely caught it out of the corner of my eye while Jonathan and I were driving home. It was in a spot where I didn’t know it to grow too. I wasn’t 100% sure that’s what it was, but another mile or so up the road is a place where it has grown pretty thickly the past two years. I figured if that field looked the same, then that must be it. As we came upon it, there it was. I didn’t get a picture though. Moving car plus tiny flowers equals bad photography. Last year it didn’t bloom until April 27, so it’s 12 days early (as compared to then).

When I got home, I went walking around the property. I was astounded to find the blueberries in bloom:

Blueberry blossoms

Blueberry blossoms


I’ve not seen these bloom in April before. Last year I logged them as blooming on May 4. I noticed that the ones growing in the woods were nowhere near ready to bloom yet, as opposed to the ones growing around the base of the oaks at the edge of the yard.

I turned around and almost stepped on this specimen:

Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris)

Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris)


This is a carnivorous plant. It has hairs on its leaves and exudes a sticky goo that tends to render bugs (et al) immobile. This is another one that bloomed on May 4 last year. I had notice that these had sprouted an were making leaves, but wasn’t expecting them to bloom just yet.

I walked on and saw this:

Pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii )

Pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii )


This is a crappy photo too, and that’s too bad, because Wikipedia’s image repository doesn’t have a picture of this plant. I may try to get a decent one soon to rectify that, but it might snow here tonight, and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I’m not likely to get a good shot of it until the weather clears up a bit.

I made my way into the woods then and took lotsa photos of trailing arbutus, but most of those have fading blossoms now (and I have already posted good pics of those in the past couple of weeks). But I was not expecting to see this:

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)


This is the plant I wrote about yesterday. I found a couple of them with open blossoms. This one did bloom in April last year (on the 28th) so I wasn’t expecting to see any flowers two weeks early. But here they are!

Not far from the ginseng I started looking for some Goldthread. I had spotted its leaves here the other day (and indeed, I saw several before the snow was melted). Then I found one which had sent up a stem and had an unopened flower bud on it. I took some photos, and then not five feet away, I found one that had opened:

Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica)

Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica)


The earliest I found one of these in bloom last year was on April 30, so here we are with another one open two weeks early.

The last new bloom I spotted today was this one, and again, it wasn’t expected:

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)


The earliest log I had for this one was May 5, so we’re looking at one that’s three weeks earlier. This photo didn’t turn out very well either because the wind was whipping it around in low-light conditions (necessitating a slow shutter speed).

I had also taken shots of birch, cherry, sugar maple, box elder (which is a type of maple) and crab apple in Concord today at lunchtime. Those have been in bloom for about a week I guess. But I have posted enough photos for one day!