Cindy and I headed down to The Pocket today not only because I needed to get an update published, but because it was an absolutely beautiful day. And the flowers did not disappoint.
I had not planned on getting back down to The Pocket so soon after Sunday’s trip, but I got an email from Clayton Webster of the Over The Hill Hiking Group on Tuesday inviting me to join them on their visit to The Pocket today. I was really glad I joined them, not only because they are such a fine, fun group of folks, but without them I would have missed a Bloodroot still blooming! With that Bloodroot and all the other early spring flowers except Harbinger-of-Spring making a presence (yes, Dutchman’s Breeches STILL blooming) and so many other species at peak bloom, today might have been the perfect day for a visit to The Pocket. Thanks, Clayton!
The Pocket is in full swing with most of its signature species in bloom, although with the exception of a single plant, we saw no Bloodroot blooming today. We lost a species or two, but what has started blooming since my last trip (3/17) more than made up for it, starting with the Bent White Trillium (Trillium flexipes.) Probably the big surprise for me was that we still had many Dutchman’s Breeches still blooming – since early March! I don’t remember a previous 3-week+ bloom season for this plant at The Pocket.
I always get surprises when I go to The Pocket. Today was no exception, except that since things started blooming so much earlier than usual this year (Hepatica in January!), I was expecting the “early season” to continue – expecting some of the earlier species to be gone, and frankly I was expecting to see the Bent White Trillium blooming. However, with the exception of Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), ALL of the early species were still blooming. So with all those earlier ones, and a few more added this trip, I found 30 species in flower this trip. And those Bent White Trillium, while close, are not yet blooming. It seems the wildflowers at The Pocket are now closer to “normal schedule” than “really early.”
Questions in my head about identification of the yellow Violet drove me back down to The Pocket today. I’ve decided I’m going with Viola pubescens var. scabriuscula – Smooth Yellow Violet (syn. Viola eriocarpa and Viola pensylvanica among others. ) But there were a couple of noteworthy additional species to last Friday’s list. Firstly, the first of the Wood Poppies (Celandine Poppy) have started to bloom.
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.
As expected with this warm weather, we’ve added a few species to what are blooming at The Pocket. As I was hoping, Carolina Spring Beauty are now pretty widespread. While 9 species are a far cry from the 40 that may be blooming at peak, we’ve got to remember, this is mid-February!
As expected, the Hepatica were still blooming at the Pocket – they were starting to bloom the last few days of January, but after all, it is just mid-February. Also as expected, Harbinger-of-spring was blooming. Not surprisingly, Star Chickweed was blooming, but I was surprised that with the other plants in bloom, I didn’t find Toothwort in flower (although I did find one with buds.) But there were two other surprises for me, these on the positive side.
Look what was poking up through the leaves along the boardwalk:
My wife and I made a trip down to the Pocket on Tuesday, 1/31/2017. With the warm winter we’ve had, I was not going to be surprised to find something blooming – and it was! There were dozens of Hepatica (Anemone acutiloba) blooming along the boardwalk. I expected to find Harbinger-of-spring (Erigenia bulbosa) blooming as well, but none were to be found.
Here’s a photo of one of the Hepatica:
This will likely be my last status update on wildflowers at The Pocket this season. The overstory is filling out, and the leafy understory is blocking what sun makes it through the leaves on the trees, so the spring ephemeral season is drawing to a close. From a species count – this time I counted 39 species blooming – it seems to be active, but most of those are in definite decline. This would be a particularly good time to come if you want to catch some of those species in fruit. The massive display of Bent White Trillium (Trillium flexipes) is still on, but it and most other species are past their peak.