wildflowers in the rich spring hardwoods
On our drive and hike along the South Branch Dunbar Stream, north of Fredericton, we encountered many spring wildflowers. The Trout Lily (Erythronium americana Ker) was everywhere, in extensive carpets, especially in hummocky areas (see my post for June 1, 2012). The delicate Wood Anemone was just beginning its bloom, also in dense carpets of feathery foliage. Other plants in these woods included the Purple Trillium and Green Hellebore.
The Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia L.) is one of our less common plants. Its leaves are deeply toothed with 3 to 5 parts. The ‘flower’ is white and five-petalled, not really a flower at all, but the white sepals of the plant.
The Purple Trillium (Trillium erectum L.), also known as the Wakerobin, is a showy plant with the parts in three’s. The flower is maroon or purple, and, as in our case, may be nodding, in spite of the name (erectum meaning erect). The flower is known by its purple ovary (female part of the flower) and its nasty odor. You can eat the very young leaves of the Purple Trillium, but they are not usually in large abundance, so to protect the plants, I recommend just enjoying their bloom.
The light green leaves of Green or False Hellebore (Veratrum viride Ait.) were also conspicuous in the woods, I see them in woods along rivers all over our area. They are large plants, made up of heavily ribbed, pleated, clasping leaves. The leaves are parallel veined and do not smell like skunk, unlike the Skunk-Cabbage which has netted veins in the leaves and a skunky odor. Later, the Green Hellbore will have large clusters of yellow-green star-shaped flowers. This plant is poisonous.
We enjoyed our hike, and saw a beaver tending his dam and a narrow, raging waterfall pouring into the South Branch of the Dunbar, probably only a trickle in summer after the heavy spring rains are gone.
© Jane Tims 2012