Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring Flowers Part IV

Spring wildflowers are beginning to peak in eastern Ohio and will gradually wane over the next couple of weeks as average daily temperatures conitnue to increase and the amount of light available on the forest floor continues to decrease.  Usually a lull in flowering plants occurs between late May and mid-June signifying a transition between spring and summer flowering foliage.

Blue-Eyed Marys.  These colorful wildflowers are usually
widespread across moist wooded floodplains and gently
sloping, north facing upland wooded slopes.  Colonies
can be several hundred square feet in coverage on the
forest floor.

Fire Pink.  Occurs mainly on dry upland south-facing wooded
slopes commonly under stands of oak and hickory.  Bright
red flowers with notches on the ends of the petals make
this plant easily identifiable in the field. 

Golden Ragwort.  A generalist in terms of habitat, golden
ragwort can be found from roadsides to deep within wooded
areas.  The plant somewhat resembles hawkweed, but has
a purplish stalk and larger flowers.  Commonly encountered.

Cut-Leaf Toothwort.  Though not as small as the spring beauty,
cut-leaf toothwort could be easily overlooked if it weren't
for its tendency to be widespread across the forest floor.
Is somewhat of a generalist in terms of habitat.   It seems to
grow well as long as there is tree cover with not too much
moisture in the soil.  A plant of folklore, early settlers believed
it to be useful for curing toothaches.

Wood Poppy.  This colorful flower is one of the larger species
in terms of petal diameter in the watershed measuring up to
2 inches.  An easily recognizable plant when flowering
as no other large yellow flowers occur in early spring in this area.
The relatively large fleshy leaves are sometimes highlighted with
a silvery mottling.  Prefers moist low-land wooded slopes with
rich deep soils, but will occasionally be found on upland slopes
provided soils aren't too dry.  Occurs in large colonies covering
several dozen square feet where growing conditions are favorable.

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