I found more spring wildflowers as the Tramp & Trail group hiked in to Pitcher Pond in Grieg.
Trout Lily, aka Dog-tooth violet, grow in the woods in filtered light. It takes 7 years for a plant to go from seed to flower. Only plants that have two leaves will ever flower. Trout lilies are pollinated by ants, but in additions to propagating via seeds, these plants also spread by offshoots of the underground corm. This plant is easy to recognize even before it flowers as the leaves are mottled similar to brown brook trout. The Dog-tooth violet name comes from the tooth-like shape of the underground corm, but this plant is not a violet.
Wild Blueberry Flowers
Wild blueberry plants were flowering along the edge of Pitcher Pond. Wild, or lowbush blueberries are tiny compared to grocery store berries. Unless you are looking, you might miss the tiny white flowers hidden among the plants foliage. These plants are usually found growing in poor soil, depending on a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi to take up enough nutrients to flourish. Wild blueberry plants are very long-lived and it is believed that some live for 2 centuries or longer. They will only bloom if they get enough light, so while you may find the plants in the forest understory, only those plants on the edges will receive enough light to produce the delicious berries.
American Beech male flowers
Often when we look for spring flowers, we can easily overlook the trees with inconspicuous spring flowers
Sugar Maple flowers
such as the Sugar Maples and the American Beech. The beech is easy to identify – the leaves do not fall off in the fall, and so most are seen fluttering and bleached pale this time of the year. The male flowers are small and yellow and formed into ball-like structures and the female flowers are smaller with red-colored scales at the end of new twig growth. I only saw one tree in a sheltered area today that was beginning to unfurl new leaves and display male flowers, but in the weeks to come, this will be one to watch for. Sugar maples will not flower until they are at least 22 years old and their flowers are pale green but give off a slightly sweet scent.
Head outside and see what flower treasures you can find that you might have overlooked in the past.