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!