Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as I’ve previously posted, I am alternatively offering an online presentation for each of the walks about ephemeral spring wildflowers that I had originally scheduled for April 22 and May 6. Now, I’ve added a third online presentation, this one featuring the ephemeral spring wildflowers at Ballston Creek Preserve.
This additional presentation about ephemeral spring wildflowers (including other spring season wildflowers) will be shown on May Day evening. So, before you put on your dancing shoes to go round the Maypole, please join me for a colorful viewing of the blooming beauties you can find on display at this and other local nature preserves.
For logon information for these three sessions as well as information about my other upcoming activities, please view my Events page. Please visit my Events page on a recurring basis for updates (and likely additional changes) to other scheduled activities as we all monitor the rapidly changing conditions associated with this health crisis.
In hopes of finding any ephemeral spring wildflowers choosing to open an early bloom, I decided to return to the unnamed 41-acre property along the Mohawk River that is owned by the Town of Clifton Park to see what may have changed over the past week since my last visit. The blustery winds were quite gusty atop the bluff along the Mohawk River today, but the short-lived flashes of sunshine intermixed with a periodic snowflake in the air was a good reminder that spring takes its time to arrive. Still, it was good to be out in nature; essential nourishment for the soul.
Round-lobed Hepatica – these appear to be in full bloom now, in white, pinks and purple
Today’s sunshine and low 60s tempted me outside to search for any early spring wildflowers that may have taken advantage of recent rains and warmth (following a very mild “winter”) to emerge, or, better yet, pop open a flower bud.
Join me for a virtual walk through this scenic property to view the wildflowers that I happened upon. Please note: One tick was indeed and most certainly mangled to death during the filming of this video. You’re welcome. However, rest assured that this footage, which obviously contained graphic violence and an abundance of adult language, is not included in this video. Rather, the final video is quite family friendly. I hope you enjoy it.
For a better focused and more close-up view of each species mentioned in the video, please see these images –
Unfortunately, this spring has had surprisingly few sunny days and, earlier, we continued to experience cold nights (many with freezing overnight temperatures). Together, those weather attributes have affected when our early season spring wildflowers have begun blooming and whether, on any given day, the blooms would actually fully open to enable us to view their beauty. Because of this, I have personally taken very few photos so far and have published very few posts here. Therefore, the following photos were taken in the past, but better represent what was observed on the two series of ephemeral spring wildflower walks that I conducted earlier this spring. Below, I’ve summarized what we observed at each of the two destinations: (1) Shenantaha Creek Park, and (2) Steinmetz Woods (AKA 41 acres along the Mohawk River).
Despite the occasional snowflake floating aimlessly through the air today, the intermittent sunshine and patches of snowless forest floor seemed to invite me out for a hike. I decided to visit West Sky Natural Area in the Town of Clifton Park where I am currently conducting a wildflower inventory along its trails. As I began to cross one of the wooden walkways that span a tiny stream in this natural area, I noticed a perfectly round bare spot surrounding a plant (shown above). This unique plant, our native Skunk Cabbage, had cleared that spot all by itself with the intent of getting an early start on the new growing season. Actually, Skunk Cabbage blooms first and then its leaves will emerge about the time that the flowers are withering and the plant sets fruit.
Skunk Cabbage is able to clear away snow and ice through a process called thermogenesis, or the ability to metabolically generate heat. Temperature elevation in Skunk Cabbage lasts for approximately two weeks. Skunk Cabbage has an underground stem that stores large quantities of starch. During heat production, starch is translocated to the flower where it is metabolized at a high rate, generating the heat.
I may celebrate my first bloom of the season with some corned beef and cabbage. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
This week’s sunny warm days continue to spur a rapid progression of first blooms of an increasing number of wildflowers. My destination this week was the Community Connector Trail in the Towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon.
During my strolls over the past two evenings, I observed –
White Clover (white bloom atop a leafless flower stem, unlike that of Alsike Clover, which has not yet begun blooming)
Early Meadow Rue – Please note how each bloom resembles a beaded lampshade from the Roaring Twenties.
American Black Currant
Common Winter Cress
Here’s hoping each of you find an opportunity to get out and see any of the blooming beauties now on display and, in doing so, finding your own way to celebrate National Wildflower Week.