Sunday, March 20, 2011

Harbinger of Spring

Harbinger of Spring- MDC
The Harbinger of Spring is out.  I am not referring to ticks but to the flower.   Erigenia bulbosa, also known as "Pepper and Salt", is one of the first wildflowers out in the spring.   I am always surprised when I find it, usually while doing the road cleanup.  The picture here is deceptive as the plant is usually less than a half inch tall, best found when searching the roadside for cigarette butts.

The Fresh Afield blog by MDC by Tim Smith will whet your appetite for a walk in the woods with a lot of the bending over necessary to see these early flowers.  Barbara refers to Linda Ellis as her favorite "bottomist" because that is what you see when botanists are looking at plants.

Tim's article has a set of pictures to get you started, as well as the link to http://www.missouriplants.com/ where you can begin identifying wildflowers by color and leaf arrangement.  For the Master Naturalists, we hope to have Linda with us at the first of two Wildflower Field Trips to Bull Mills next Saturday, March 26 at 1:00 PM.  Directions are on the Springfield MN calendar.

Harbinger of Spring is also a reminder that it is time to get your hummingbird feeders sugared up.  The Hummers are reported in mid-Arkansas and are bound to be hungry when they hit the Missouri Ozarks.  Check the map for their progress at http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html.

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