Sunday, April 10, 2022

New first blooms on a cold April 10th

On the morning of April 9th, I woke up to find the ground covered with snow. But that hasn't stopped new spring wildflowers from bursting into bloom.

Up in the forest canopy, enough leaves have unfurled now, that, when viewed from above, the Cloister's isolated mountain valley is taking on a green tinge.

Every day this time of year, nature marches new players out onto center-stage and gives them their cameo. The change seems fast-paced, because there are so many members of the cast. It's easy to miss something if you aren't vigilant. For this old hermit, it's such a joy -- an interactive, participatory performance where I get to meander around on the stage and interview the new actors who have just appeared and check in on the veterans who have been playing their part for weeks.

New today were the wild phlox, a pink variety, featured in the 'thumbnail' of the video, the unfurling of the white flowering dogwood buds, a variety of wild indigo with pale pinkish-white flowers, which is a member of the pea family, and the parasitic American cancer-root, also called bear corn, which shows nothing above ground but its flowers. There is no green here. The plant doesn't photosynthesize and needs no leaves because it gets all its nutrients from its host plant. Its roots tap directly into roots of oak or beech trees and steal their sugary sap.
Wild indigo, a relative of garden pea vines and climbing beans.
Flower detail
American cancer-root, Conopholis americana, which gets its nickname bear corn from the corn-cob-like appearance of these flower stems.  It was also called 'Squawroot' because America's first peoples used it as a treatment for women's symptoms such as menstrual cramps.

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