Spring Wildflower Workshop

Hepatica!

Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

The sun is out and spring time is here! With the warm weather come spring time ephemerals. Spring ephemerals are perennial flowers that have a very short lifecycle between late April’s snowmelt and early May’s leaf out. Last night, we saw these ephemerals at an event co-hosted by SLT, North Branch Nature Center and Green Mountain Club – The Spring Wildflower Workshop at Kirchner Woods!

 

Sean Beckett, a naturalist from NBNC instructed the workshop, and introduced us to species of wildflowers. Some species include: trillium (Trillium spp.), toothwort (Cardamine spp.), trout lily (Erythronium americanum), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), hepatica (Hepatica spp.), and Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). While on the walk, we learned about how flowers attract different types of pollinators. For example, red trillium (T. erectum) is one of the first flowers to show up in the spring. The flower smells slightly of meat and is the color red, which attracts pollinators like beetles and flies. Other members of the trillium family come out a few weeks later, are a different color, and don’t have a bad smell which means they have different pollinators! We also learned about other insects and their methods of pollinating flowers/dispersing seeds. One of the awesome insects we learned about is the species of ant Aphaenogaster rudis. Ants can only walk a short distance while gathering food and other resources. When ants disperse seeds, they disperse them in close proximity to their parent flower. Because of this, you are likely to see patches of the same wildflowers close together. 

 

During our time in Kirchner Woods, we were also greeted by a Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Hairy Woodpecker. I had a great time learning about wildflowers and can’t wait to take my skills to other SLT properties! In addition, throughout the evening, I was on iNaturalist adding all of these fun and interesting observations! Stay tuned for next week's Summer Naturalist update!