Friday, May 4, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Looking for blooming flowers at this time of year is just as much fun as finding them.  Along the way, I always tip over small rocks, logs, and boards, and even pieces of trash that might be providing temporary homes for interesting critters.  I'll identify these recent blooms from top to bottom and just say they can all be found at the roadsides or a short distance into the woods along Highways 70 and 89 between Spring Garden and Greenville.  I won't identify specific locations of each flower because I want you to discover the joy of wandering.
The Red Larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule, is now blooming in the sunny, South-facing areas, but still in bids in the shady areas. 
The Showy Phlox, Phlox speciosa, is visible from the highway if you're not going too fast.
Scarlet Fritillary, Fritillaria recurva, is a beautiful lily recently blooming above the 3,000 foot level. I posted a photo a couple of weeks ago taken at the 2,000 foot level.
The Stout-beaked Toothwort, Cardamine pachystigma, has a most intriguing name, and is a member of the Mustard Family, Brassicaceae, along with its look-alike cousin the Milkmaids.
There are many species of Vetch, Vicia spp., and this one might be Cow Vetch.  Not sure.
Likewise Manzanita, Arctostaphylos spp.  
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata, are now blooming in the more open pine forests, and the leaves of their look-alike cousins, Mule Ears, are emerging nearby, although they bloom a bit later.  Keep an eye on both, and you'll find the distinction not too difficult.
Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia parviflora, is tiny and easy to miss amongst the many larger species of flowers and grasses usually surrounding it.  It's a beautiful flower, so walking slowly with your eyes focused on the path ahead pays off.  You'll need to crawl or lie down to get good photos of this one.  Then you might discover some small critters as well.

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