|This late snow is out of place with the forsythia that has been blooming since late-February this year.|
About a week before the snow storm I took a walk around the woods to see what was starting to come up. The first thing I checked on was the spicebush. It usually begins blooming shortly after the forsythia. This year, while the forsythia had been in bloom for a couple of weeks, the spicebush was just getting started.
|March 10th and the flower buds on the spicebush were just opening.|
The next plant I checked was the pussy willow, Salix discolor. This native tree/shrub is one of the earliest blooming native plants and is an important source of pollen to early season native bees. Since this species is dioecious, only the male plants are sources of pollen; however both male and female flowers have nectar.
|The buds of this pussy willow are just opening. When fully in |
bloom the flower buds of this male plant will be covered
with yellow pollen-bearing anthers.
Looking down on the ground in the leaf litter I found a number of Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, that had just come up. Sometimes the new leaves have a purple tinge to them, but that color quickly fades to green. The spikes of flower buds follow quickly after this first flush of leaves.
|These Virginia bluebells have just come up.|
Also showing up on the ground was white avens, Geum canadense, which is pretty common in this area. While its not particularly beautiful in bloom, it does fill in gaps in the shady understory and its wispy white flowers break up the sea of green leaves. In the early spring it is by the light colored veins on the deeply divided leaves.
|The leaf markings on this white avens rival those of some Heucheras; |
however, as it matures the dominant leaves will be smaller and the veination less noticeable.
|These violets look a little like garlic mustard, ...|
They can be distinguished from the over-wintering garlic mustard rosettes that have longer, slender petiole and leaves that are deeply veined and more deeply toothed serrate leaf margins.
|Garlic mustard has deeply veined leaves that |
look tired, having been out all winter.
|Most native honeysuckles have the two terminal leaves fused together |
like this just below the flower bud.
While not growing with the same vigor as the Japanese honelysuckle at this time, the native coral or trumpet honeysuckle is also leafing out. Flower buds are beginning to form, though the normal bloom season is closer to mid-spring.