The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 03/03/2017 – 21 Species Blooming

Today was much cooler than it has been – more normal temps for early March – and last night temps dipped below freezing in parts of the region. Even so, I was expecting more than on 2/21, and certainly got it. 21 species blooming (although in some cases very early in their bloom season.) The big surprise: Dutchman’s Breeches, just starting to bloom (we saw three plants with flowers or developing blossoms.) This is, I believe, the earliest I’ve seen this plant bloom at The Pocket.

Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria

Dutchman’s Breeches – Dicentra cucullaria

Here is the full list of what I found blooming (Click on the hyper-linked scientific name to go to the page with more photos/information on that species.):

Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum thalictroides

Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides

  • Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) – Just a few just starting to open. Update: The Georgia Botanical Society made a stop by The Pocket on 3/5 (two days after this report), and they found several fully-opened Trout Lilies.
  • Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)
  • Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata)
  • Canada Violet (Viola canadensis) – Just a few of these are open
  • Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens) – I originally thought these were V. rotundifolia, before I dug into the leaf duff and discovered they were caulescent rather than acaulescent. That is still how I have them listed in the database, partly because I’ve been too lazy to update it, and partly because I’m still not sure on the final identification. I then waivered between V. pensylvanica and V. pubescens.  There seems to be continued disagreement on the appropriate classification – ITIS says both V. pensylvanica and V. eriocarpa are synonyms of varieties of V. pubescens, while some authorities maintain that V. eriocarpa is appropriately kept at species level, and V. pensylvanica is a synonym of V. eriocarpa. I haven’t been able to determine which of these we have at The Pocket – differences in the hairiness of the leaves and stem, the position of the cauline leaves on the stem, and the attitude of the stem have been too subtle for my abilities so far. Update: The Georgia Botanical Society made a stop by The Pocket on 3/5 (two days after this report), and they identified this violet as Viola pensylvanica (synonym of Viola eriocarpa.)
  • Common Blue Violet
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) – Getting close to peak.
  • Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) – As mentioned above.
  • Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum

Wild Geranium – Geranium maculatum

  • Cumberland Spurge (Euphorbia mercurialina)
  • Sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum) – I found a single, surprise plant along the horse trail. Update: The Georgia Botanical Society made a stop by The Pocket on 3/5 (two days after this report), and they also found Trillium decumbens blooming.
  • Bishop’s Cap (Mitella diphylla) – One plant blooming, and a couple getting close.

Additionally, Robin’s Plantain is VERY close to blooming – several plants with buds about to open.

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