I think it’s safe to say that spring has sprung. It is my favorite time of year because of the many singing frogs, migrating birds and blooming beauties, of course!
Once warm weather arrives, I love to go out and enjoy a nice hike in search of all of these things. Photographing the first blooming wildflowers of the year is one of my favorite things to do. One of the first being harbinger of spring, also known as warning sign of spring. It also has the nickname of “salt and pepper plant” because the dark colored anthers look like pepper on salt colored flower petals.
Cut leaved toothwort is another early bloomer. It has toothed leaves and roots, which is how it got its name. Folklore states that it may have been used by Native Americans to cure a toothache. It is in the mustard family and the root has a horseradish like taste.
Trout lilies are yet another early bloomer. They have mottled leaves and can be a white or yellow colored flower.
Bloodroot is another wildflower that only lasts about a day or two. This daisy looking flower gets its name from its juicy red root. The leaves will often have a ghost shape appearance. Folklore states it was used as face paint and medicinally used to rid ulcers, skin conditions and also to purify the blood.
Many of these flowers are visible on trails throughout Great Parks. I encourage you to get out and see all these blooming beauties over the next few weeks. I highly recommend Great Oaks trail at Winton Woods to see a carpet of trout lilies and Seasongood trail at Woodland Mound has a wide variety of wildflowers. Or you can attend one of our hikes to see what’s blooming anywhere in the parks.
We can’t forget! Springtime also brings about some delicious wild edibles. These include wild onion, chickweed, mustards and mushrooms. If you would like to learn more about some of these delicious treats, then join us on April 18 for an adult workshop all about earthy wild edibles. The cost is only $15 per person. There is also a lunch and learn program for ages 50 and over on April 23 about tasty wild edible treats. For more information and to register, please visit our website at greatparks.org.
Jenn Wallace, Naturalist