Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 Rain or Shine on the Pumpkinvine

Pumpkinvine Wildflower Hikers
The wildflowers are fine on the Pumpkinvine, rain or shine.  The rain was light; we only needed umbrellas at the end of our Saturday, May 7, 2 - 3:30 p.m.wildflower hike on the The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, walking east from the Elkhart CR 43 trail parking lot into LaGrange County.  There are several interesting and unusual wildflowers in the section of the trail where woods are on both sides.

Bishop's Cap, Mitella diphylla
We've never seen a bigger patch of Bishop's Cap plant than what was growing along the Pumpkinvine today; we were amazed.  Although this isn't an "endangered" or "threatened" species, most people have never heard of it. You could easily walk by Bishop Cap flowers without noticing them.  Each flower is less than 1/4 inch across.  What makes ii special is the delicate lacy fringe on each "cap".
Bishop's Cap up close
Another plant that's easy to overlook is Large-flowered Bellwort.  Even though the flowers are rather large, they are "droopy", and the whole plant looks wilted. 
Large-flowered Bellwort, Uvullaria grandiflora
Bristly Crowfoot, Ranunculus pensylvanicus
Bristly Crowfoot (pictured above) is another flower that is very easy to miss.  It's five yellow petals are less than 1/4 inch long.  Its close relative, Small-flowered Crowfoot (Ranunculus abortivus), also grows here and is equally easy to overlook.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a favorite flower for many "woodland walkers".  There were numerous clumps of them along the trail.  We've never seen more on one short walk.

Mayapple to the left; three Jack-in-the-Pulpits to the right

May-Apple, Podophyllum pelatum, flowers are still in the bud stage.  These three Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, are less than 12 inches tall.

A large (20 inches high) Jack-in-the Pulpit
The very small flowers in a Jack-in-the Pulpit are located on the "Jack" (the spadix), at the base of the purple and green striped "pulpit' (the spathe) that surrounds "Jack".  You can't see them without removing the spathe.

Large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) is at its best - lots of nice big flowers.  Many Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) are in flower, but likely not yet at their peak.

Large-flowered Trillium and Blue Phlox

Blue phlox
In addition to those pictured, these native species were in bloom:
Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia
Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Wild Geranium, Geranium malculata
Purple Springcress, Cardamine douglassi
Buttercup, Ranunculu species

Species that are in bud and will likely bloom soon are ---
False Solomon's Seal or Feathery Solomon's Plume, Maianthemum racemosum
Starry Solomon's Plume, Maianthemum stellatum
Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum pubescens
Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum species
Many Michigan Lily plants have emerged, but won't likely bloom until late June.  Recently a Michigan naturalist told us that deer frequently browse Michigan Lily plants, so we may or may not see Michigan Lilies this June.  The photograph below is a Michigan Lily that I found blooming in this same section of the Pumpkinvine on July 4, 2010.
Michigan Lily, Lilium michiganense
Same flower as above, turned up to see center
This section of the Pumpkinvine will be worth visiting from time to time throughout the spring and summer.  The wildflower bloom along the trail will keep changing and there will be interesting farming operations to see in the adjoining fields, such as the eight-horse team that was plowing today.

1 comment:

  1. gorgeous!!!!!! I wish we lived a little closer......I would have loved this walk!!!! But, the gas prices are keeping us home......doing our walking on our own country road!!