Here are some of the showier spring ephemerals to watch for in the Potomac Gorge this week.
In the floodplain close to the river, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica; left) are approaching peak bloom. Mixed in with them in a few places are Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria; below right), which you might also find on moist, rocky outcroppings.
Trout lilies (Erythronium americanum; above left) like moist soils, too. Generally I see them in the transition areas between floodplain and slopes.
Further upslope are cut-leaf toothworts (Cardamine concatenata; left).
On drier slopes watch for scattered patches of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis; below).
Look for twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla; below) in moist, rocky areas. They like limestone soils, so aren’t as widespread as these other species, but where they do grow they they tend to grow en masse.
Spring beauties (Claytonia virginica; below) are just about everywhere.
Great pictures as always, especially the Dutchman’s breeches. They’re fun to photograph. Is the twinleaf photo from this year? They’re already blooming? I did a scouting trip on 3/29 and they hadn’t poked through the ground yet in the spots I checked. Found that a huge tree came down right in my 2nd-favorite twinleaf patch; another in my bloodroot spot. That windstorm changed things a lot.
Thanks! All of these photos are from Friday (4/6/18). I had a quick look again Sunday afternoon and the twinleaf was still blooming, with more buds starting.
They’ve been clearing large trees along the towpath; sadly one of them came down right atop the round-lobe hepaticas. You’re right, the windstorm did change things.
Did you just feature those first three a few days ago?
Virginia bluebells is something I have seen only in pictures. The trout lily resembles those that live here, although the flowers are more colorful. Ours bloom with smaller and sickly greenish yellow flowers. I do not know the species. Our dicentra is a pink bleeding heart. Jeffersonia sounds familiar but I can not remember why.