In the Potomac Gorge, in January? The answer, of course, is nothing. But some plants are still displaying old seedheads or pods: wingstem, asters, goldenrods, a few grasses, American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia). The wind rustles the beech tree leaves, which will stay on the trees for a few more months. A faint green blush signals the presence of invasive exotics.
Looking ’round you can see green on a few native plants: wild ginger (Asarum canadense), round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var obtusa), and the succulent leaves of wild stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) hanging on; a few broad-leaved waterleaf (Hydrophyllum canadense) and alumroot (Heuchera americana); evergreen leaves of partridgeberry (Mitchella repens); the new leaves of puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale) and cranefly (Tipularia discolor); Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) and polypody (Polypodium virginianum). And of course the evergreen shrubs and trees: American holly (Ilex opaca), eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), and mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia).
Depending on the weather, the first new blossoms of 2015 will be out in two or three months.
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) budding up
March 21, 2014