Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bricks Works First Flower

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) at the Brick Works

The original reason I visited the Brick Works this week (before I spotted the unfortunate subject of the prevous post) was to take a picture of the first flower I have seen at the Brick Works (there is no Skunk Cabbage growing at this location). I spotted this Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) patch in the northwest corner. This area has several springs emanating from the shale rock face which is still exposed here. The water collects at the base of the slope in an L-shaped pool. Right next to one of the springs is where I took this picture. Even though the temperatures are still below freezing at night a few plants are able to survive. It's been said that the Brick Works quarry creates a sheltered microclimate allowing plants to grow here that normally wouldn't (Redbud and Tulip trees come to mind). The small area at the back must be a microclimate within a microclimate.

Coltsfoot is a member of the aster family, the same as the common Dandelion. A native of Europe, it was likely introduced here by settlers for its medicinal properties. While I haven't tried it myself it is apparently edible. It is considered invasive in some areas but not in the Don. Currently it provides a bright yellow harbinger of spring amongst all the current March browns and greys.

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