Thursday, June 11, 2009

June Flowers

One thing I enjoy very much about living here is getting to know our land and the way it changes throughout the year. When I walk in the woods, I like to take the same walk I took the day before, or even that morning, and see what has grown or bloomed or died back. If you had told me in college that I would become a wildflower hobbyist, I would have backed slowly away. But I have, and I love it.

So far, in the years we've been here, a different flower seems to have a surge every spring. Two years ago, we had a ton of Clintonia. Last year we had a bumper crop of sarsaparilla. This year seems to be a good year for bunchberries. In June, almost everything that blooms is white. The crop of white flowers is set off by marsh marigolds in the middle of May and bluebells by the middle of June.

The first white flowers we see are the anemones. They generally show up at the beginning of May, although everything came late this year. These are the first real flowers we see after the spring bulbs are done. They open up (as this one has) on sunny days, then close up and droop on cloudy days. They are long-lasting and I sometimes spot them, in cool places deep in the woods, into July. Then there are always a few that bloom in the fall, just for fun.

We had a terrible pollen season this year. I took the anemone picture a couple weeks ago when the pollen was thick on everything; you can see it on the leaves. When it rained, our driveway looked like it was full of yellow paint.

As I said, this is a good year for bunchberries. I learned that the bunchberry flower is not a flower -- the actual flower is the group of little nodules at the center, and the plant grows four white leaves around the nodules to trick bees into thinking it's a flower. The white leaves start out as green (as seen here) and seem to turn white as they get more sun. In the summer the kids can pick and nibble on the bunchberries. They are edible but because of the large stone it's really more for the novelty of picking and eating something right of the plant. A good patch of bunchberries can be very pretty, although not as impressive as a field of trillium.

This is a trillium, but not the kind of trillium I wish we had. We have nodding trillium, which hides its flowers under its petals. It's hard to find on the forest floor; you really have to be watching for it. The good news is last year I saw two plants (both of which produced blooms), and this year I've seen five, all of which produced blooms.

Speaking of sarsaparilla, here is what it looks like when it blooms. We have a lot of it this year, although not as much as last year.

If I recall correctly, this is a Canadian mayflower. It's about as tall as the length of an adult finger and just as cute as it looks here. Unfortunately it was never sunny when I wanted to take a picture of it, so it looks a little drab here. I have never been to the BWCAW, but as I understand it, these are very common there.

Using blossoms is cheating a little. And really, these are a little more pink than white. Instead I should include a shot of our white apple blossoms, which are just starting to come out. However, I include the plum blossoms because they smell so fantastic. I would wear plum-blossoms scent as a perfume if I could. Including this photo would make more sense if I had a smellovision blog.

This is called the starflower, and it's my favorite of the spring white wildflowers. It's a little less common on our land than some of the other wildflowers and is a treat to find. The blossom is about as big as a thumbnail so it almost feels like you're finding a little jewel when you see one.


  1. Anonymous5:04 PM


  2. I didn't know the names for all these. Neat!

  3. ha, I grew up tramping around the woods full of all of these and never knew what they all were! thanks!