The past few post have given us glimpses of the diversity of spring flowers in the Preserve. And more are emerging every day. Many of these plants are tucked away, but Jeff Steele has a keen eye to spot them when just a few leaves are showing. Here we are following him on his walk this past Monday (5/4) in the Lakeshore Preserve. Jeff's posts on iNaturalist document that spring wildflowers grow all over Madison, in parks of course, and protected places, but also in backyards and front yards and some unlikely nooks and crannies. Test your memory when you peruse these leafy photos and picture the flowers that go with them.
Great waterleaf and Virginia waterleaf often grow next to each other, but one has more serated edges than the other. The Common jewel weed has formed its first round leaves, almost quarter size, the Mayapples are ready to fan out their umbrellas over large patches of ground, the Royal fern is uncurling its delicate young stem and leaves. In the case of Baneberry, it's hard to distinguish between the red- and white-berried Baneberry as their leaves are almost the same, but their fruits will tell. The Early meadow rue, so graceful, carries male and female flowers on separate plants (it's name Thalictrum dioicum means literally two households). On Jeff's photo the flowers have yellow stamens that hang like small tassels. The last two photos show the (smooth-leaved) Solomons seal and the Hairy Solomon seal, just emerging in one strong stalk. The leaves of the Hairy Solomon seal feel - yes - hairy on the underside. Check it out if you happen to see them in the woods. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing these photos.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors