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!
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I made it down to The Pocket – my apologies for the paucity of status updates this year. Even more species (38) are blooming now than two weeks ago (28), even though we’ve lost, or nearly lost, a few. I only saw a single Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) bloom, Harbinger-of-Spring is gone, Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has completed its bloom, there are only a few Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) still blooming, Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are essentially gone, and I couldn’t find the single Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) I saw two weeks ago.
While some of the early bloomers are gone – no more Dutchman’s Breeches, for example – this is STILL a great time for a visit to The Pocket. My growing wildflower checklist for The Pocket is up to 59 species now, and 41 of them are blooming now, even though a few of those are almost gone. If you want to see Bluebells, better hurry; they are declining fast. The Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are gone, and I only saw one small patch of Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana). All three Trillium species are still in full glory, but probably the dominant species blooming right now are Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), and Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida), which you’ll see all along the Pocket Road on your way in to the parking area.
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Today (2/11) was sunny and unseasonally warm (62 degrees by late afternoon) for February, but much colder weather is forecast – tomorrow topping out in the 30s. Since we’ve been out of town for several days, I figured I should take this opportunity to check to see if the wildflowers are starting to show up at The Pocket. I was expecting to see Harbinger-of-Spring and that other harbinger of spring, Hepatica blooming, and kind of expected to see some Toothwort blooming. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
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Allegheny Stonecrop, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (9/14/2014.) Scientific name is Hylotelephium telephioides. It is also known as Allegheny Live-for-ever. Photo below was taken along the Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, in Rockingham County, VA on Sep 4, 2014. Go to the Allegheny Stonecrop detail page for more photos and information.