Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Ephemerals

Trout lilies in Crothers' Woods

Spring this year has been cool, rainy and cloudy. When are the warm sunny spring days going to get here? However one beneficiary of this kind of spring are a group of forest herbaceous plants called spring ephemerals. These plants flower early, taking advantage of the sun before trees leaf out and shade the forest floor. With the cool spring it means that trees have been slow to produce leaves and this has resulted in a bumper year for spring ephemerals.

These types of plants are usually seen in more rural forests but there are some remnants of quality forest habitat remaining in the Don valley and other ravines in Toronto. If you know where to look you can find some stunningly beautiful flowers. However trees are finally starting to produce leaves so the time left to view spring ephemerals is growing short. I predict that many of these plants will be past their prime by mid May.


Early meadow rue


White trillium

Blue cohosh

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