A very short wildflower walk

image of spring beauty
image of trout lily

Trout lily

Although it would have been interesting to photograph any wildflowers brave enough to pop up through the snow, I haven’t been too inspired to go on any wildflower walks in the chilly April we’ve been having. However, things have warmed up nicely and our fields are filling up with dandelions, spring beauties, violets and bluets. Up in the woods, the May apples are sprouting everywhere although they won’t bloom until May.

On today’s brief walk along the creek, I saw countless spring beauties and cut-leaved toothworts. The trout lilies are up too. I like their nickname: adder’s tongue.

Rue anemone are not quite as numerous, at least yet. Their creamy white “petals” are actually sepals. They can have 6-10 of these “petals.”

image of rue anemone

Rue anemone

The photo at the top of this page is a spring beauty. They are everywhere, with colors ranging from white to almost purple. Deer must not like to eat them as opposed to our domesticated lily leaves which must be a favorite deer snack.

John, our operations manager, went morel hunting yesterday. He’s got a patch he’s watching closely. Hocking County will get a lot of rain today and tomorrow, with further warming, so they ought to start sprouting like crazy later this week. Happy hunting, John!

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Wildflower: Golden Ragwort

photo of golden ragwort
Senecio aureus

I was trying to be arty for the Shoot the Hills competition with this shot of golden ragwort along the Marsh Hollow creek. That’s the bridge to our hillside trail in the background. From April to July, visitors to the Hocking Hills will see clusters of golden ragwort plants in wet ground, low woods, swamps and meadows, and especially along our many forested roads in Hocking County.

This ragwort is native to North America and can be distinguished from a lot of look-alike plants because it blooms much earlier than they do (always helpful for us amateur wildflower enthusiasts who get excited about a wildflower find only to discover that it doesn’t bloom until August). Another helpful tip for identification is that the basal leaves are heart-shaped, long-stemmed and often reddish beneath. I had to pull away a thick layer of leaves to find this plant’s basal leaves.

WebMD has an interesting write-up about the medicinal uses of golden ragwort, which include diabetes, high blood pressure, fluid retention & pain during childbirth. After reading the side effects, especially effects on the liver, I think I’ll give it a pass.

At this time of year, Marsh Hollow has a beautiful display of wildflowers, making April and May two of the most beautiful months of the year.

More Wildflowers

I’ve seen a lot more flowers since my last posting, here are the few I’ve taken the time to try to identify:

  • Daisy fleabane
  • Dogwood
  • Garlic mustard
  • Lady’s slipper
  • Perfoliate bellwort

And a strangely colored violet, mottled white and purple – haven’t figure out what it is yet.

Hocking Hills Wildflowers Right Now

Friends Beth & Chuck recently hiked through the Rock House area to enjoy spring wildflowers. They report that trillium, jack-in-th-pulpit, Dutchman’s-breeches and many others are on full display. I’ll have to get over there.

In the meantime, I hiked into the woods behind our house (same woods our Marsh Hollow cabin is near) and found the following beauties today:

  • Bluets
  • Common blue violet
  • Cut-leaved toothwort
  • Golden ragwort
  • Hispid buttercup
  • May-apple (not blooming yet, but getting ready)
  • Poor man’s pepper
  • Rue anemone
  • Smooth phlox
  • Smooth yellow violet
  • Spring beauty
  • Sweet white violet
  • White trillium

I can only hope I got the names right because I’m using the 1968 edition of A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny. Things can change in that amount of time.