Spring beauty — Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica -- the Virginia spring beauty
Claytonia virginica — the narrow-leaved Virginia spring beauty (photo: Wikipedia)

Spring beauty is one of the earliest wildflowers to appear and it really lives up to its name! Look at those beautiful little flowers. The first leaves can emerge in late February and the flowers bloom from March through May. In April the woodlands are alive with a living carpet of spring beauty…

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The true lilies — Lilium species

Turk's cap lily, Lilium superbum
Turk’s cap lily, Lilium superbum (West Virginia, July 16th, 2016)

Lilies sure are wonderful! I wish I had words to describe them better. Perhaps I could tell you of my feelings of joy and excitement upon finding some in bloom. Or maybe I could tell you of the sunny summertime days when the lilies flower in their full glory. But it would not be enough.

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Toadshades and Wakerobins — Trillium species

Painted trillium, Trillium undulatum
Painted trillium, Trillium undulatum (Vermont, June 1st, 2016)

Trillium flowers offer a spectacular spring display. Commonly known as toadshade and wakerobin, they rank among the most beautiful, and the most illusive, of spring ephemeral wildflowers. They come in many different sizes, arrangements, and colors, from the smallest Snow Trilliums (Trillium nivale) to the Sweet Wakerobins (Trillium vaseyi) with flowers as wide as your hand is long! The distribution of Trillium species is all across the North Hemisphere in temperate regions. They are found in forests with rich, loamy soil remaining moist throughout the year.

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Wild Leeks aka Ramps — Allium tricoccum

Ramp patch
Ramp patch (Pennsylvania, late April 2014)

Everyone who has heard of ramps, loves ramps! Also known as wild leeks, they are one of the most exciting and abundant foods to greet us in the springtime. The flavor is like an exquisite onion — strong, pungent, and healthy as garlic but surprisingly sweet. Every bit of the plant is a premier wild edible, from the tip of the leaves to the base of the bulb.

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Bluebells — Mertensia virginica

Virginia bluebells are among our most beautiful spring ephemeral woodland wildflowers. I love the lush green-and-blue carpets that blanket the forest floor in mid-April in southeastern Pennsylvania.

These bluebells, Mertensia virginica in Latin, are members of the borage or forget-me-not family (Boraginaceae). Their electric-blue coloring as well as the elongated, pendulus, trumpet shape of their flowers look alike to kindred cousins such as borage, viper’s bugloss, comfrey, waterleaf, and others.

Woodland carpet of Virginica bluebells
Woodland carpet of Virginica bluebells (April 15th, 2016)

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