Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring Ephemerals

Walking around the woods this past weekend, I couldn't help but notice that the Spring ephemerals are starting to show up and bloom. An ephemeral is a plant which grows stems and leaves, blooms, is pollinated, goes to seed, and dies back to it's roots, rhizomes, or bulb very quickly. Sometimes this happens in the matter of days, but mostly it is over in a matter of weeks. This happens every Spring all around the deciduous forests of Adams County. Being ephemeral gives these plants the time to grow and reproduce utilizing the strength of the sunlight and the large amount of rain that falls at this time of year. As the leaves start showing up on the trees, the ephemerals will start dying back until next year. The leaves on the trees help protect these plants from the heat and evaporation of the summer sun. And come Autumn when the deciduous trees' leaves fall, the leaves protect and nuture the ephemerals through the Winter until the cycle starts over again.

Some of the commonly seen ephemerals around Adams county include: Trillium (of which there are 5 species in Adams County), Spring Beauty, Twinleaf, Trout Lily(there are two species found in Adams County, one, the White Trout Lily , is pictured) Cut-Leaved Toothwort, Dutchman’s Breeches, Virginia Bluebell (also pictured), May Apple, Bloodroot, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger, and False Rue Anemone.