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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Downstate Blooms Come North

Our houseguest brought a beautiful bouquet of daffodils from his wife's garden down in Hastings, Michigan. Barry County spring is way ahead of Leelanau County's, but ours is now underway.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Visiting Some Neighbors

Here's one more bloodroot shot, because the little bee deserved some attention. The colony in the sunshine beside the road was buzzing with bees on Monday. Images below are of animal neighbors visited on Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Crucial Importance of Microclimate

This is round-leafed hepatica on Sunday morning, deep in the woods. Notice how the plant holds its single flat leaf overhead like an umbrella. I had originally misidentified this plant and was set straight by Gerry Sell. Previous post to this will not only be corrected but will contain more information on hepatica.

Contrast the shaded hepatica with bloodroot in a sunny roadside colony the very next day,

petals fully open but each plant with its single basal leaf tightly furled around the delicate, porous flower stalk. I'm guessing the plant does this in a hot, dry location to keep from losing precious moisture. Wonder what they look like today in the pouring rain.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Neighbor in the Woods Near Home (Corrected)

The first rays of the morning sun streamed through the bare trees like cathedral light. At first all I could see on the ground, besides last year's dead leaves, were the wild leeks. (Their green here, by the way, has not been enhanced by editing.) But last Monday, before the heavy snow of Tuesday night and Wednesday, I'd seen a small clump of bloodwort, the first I've ever seen in this particular woods, getting ready to open its petals, and I was determined to find it again. That involved a lot of hiking uphill and down, over and over, but the hunt paid off. --Except that no, no, no, it was not bloodroot, after all! GERRY SELL WAS RIGHT, AND I WAS WRONG!

Here is part of the description of round-leafed hepatica given by Harry C. Lund (Michigan Wildflowers in Color):
Usually many individual flowers per plant, each with many thread-like stamens in its center, and each borne single on a hairy flowerstalk; 3 hairy bracts that resemble sepals below each blossom.

Leaves are smooth with 3 rounded lobes; leaves persist through winter. At blossom time these overwintered leaves are present and have a brown-purple color. New leaves develop after blossom time.

There, that description matches the plant in the photographs pretty well and explains the color of the leaves, too. Round-leafed hepatica, or liverwort, Hepatica americana, is a member of the crowfoot family, Ranunculaceae. The cowslip, or marsh marigold, is also in this family, and we should start looking for it in boggy places and along streams before too long.

Gerry, I hope I still get credit for finding the first wildflowers in the woods, even with my original misidentification of them. And here is one advantage to blogging over newspaper writing: my admission of error will not stand unchecked, with a tiny correction in the following issue to be overlooked by most readers. Oh, no, I have corrected four different posts this morning. And I certainly hope I've learned something!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April Snow Day

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Left Behind on the Trail

This jaw fragment was lying on the path when Sarah and I came upon it. After examination, I left it in a tree, at about eye level. Whose eye? That is the question!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

More From My Walk in the Dunes

Clouds came on and hid the early morning sun, but you are not looking at snow here. This is sand. These are sand dunes near Lake Michigan.

I posted images of birches, both the spectacular and the moribund. This is how some of them look from across an open expanse of dune.

And below, another shot similar to one posted last year, a sketching in the sand of the path of the wind as traced by one small plant.

Thursday, April 7, 2011