End of March Update for the Potomac Gorge

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lyre-leaved rock cress, in its favorite place

 

 

It’s a strange season. Lots of different plants are blooming, but not in the vast quantities I would expect. Several species are blooming rather early, or very early, like a full two weeks sooner than last year (not unexpected given a very warm autumn and winter).

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star chickweed
quiz: how many petals are on this flower? (answer below)

 

 

On Monday, March 28, harbinger-of-spring was done. Otherwise, the plants I reported on last week are still going, and nothing has hit its peak yet.  To that list add

…quiz answer: five; each of the petals is deeply divided into two lobes, so that a single petal appears to be two

Variations on a Theme: Toadshade

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Trillium sessile; Liliaceae

Toadshade, like so many red-brown flowering plants, is pollinated by flies and beetles.  The flower is stalkless (hence “sessile”) and the three petals remain mostly closed. It’s a low-growing, clump forming plant that loves deep shade, and shows the trilateral symmetry so often seen in monocots:

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It ranges from New York (where it’s endangered) and Michigan (where it’s threatened) in the north to North Carolina in the south and west as far as Oklahoma.

A somewhat rare yellow variety can be found near Carderock.  Native plant enthusiasts all seem to know where the clump is and always go pay it a visit.

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I love this plant beyond reason.  I can’t explain it other than to say that the common name makes me laugh.

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