Nature Notes

Winter to Summer and Back to Spring!

Shooting stars are opening their flowers that resemble meteorites flaming down to earth. Swathes of Canada anemone are in bud and just starting to unfurl, while twinflowers have finished blooming and carry fruits beneath their two mirror-image leaves.

By Mary Beth Pottratz

Spring seemed all but lost as our winter temperatures rose to summery warmth earlier this month. But the last few days of cool-down has brought spring back – and the flora and fauna with it!

Tulips in every shade you can imagine fill all available crannies at the Arboretum. Daffodils are still in full bloom, too.

Yellow Lady’s Slippers

In the woodland garden, small yellow lady’s-slippers are just starting to bloom! I see leaves and stems of other Minnesota native orchids already coming up. Large-flowered trilliums are still in bloom, and a few petals are already morphing from white to pink. Ferns pop up everywhere on the woodland floor.

Phlox

Blue sprays of five-petaled phlox dot the woods. I kneel low to inhale its spicy sweet scent. Purple, white, yellow, and blue violets dot the landscape. And a black-and-white warbler disappears into a hole in a maple tree.

Black-and-white warbler

Electric shades of azaleas glow in the forest shade, each color clashing more with the next. Some groups are framed by the hot pink froth of eastern redbud flowers coating each branch.

Shooting Stars

Shooting stars are opening their flowers that resemble meteorites flaming down to earth. Swathes of Canada anemone are in bud and just starting to unfurl, while twinflowers have finished blooming and carry fruits beneath their two mirror-image leaves.

Red and white baneberries are in flower, but until they develop fruit, we can only tell them apart by the signs placed by our knowledgeable Arboretum staffers.

Mayapples

Mayapples are about to pop their flower buds open! They hang from a short stem formed at the crotch of the two leaves. Marsh marigolds have completed flowering and are now displaying little fruits resembling a cup with a spikey top.

Prairie smoke are still flowering. The unusual blossoms resemble tiny rosebuds drooping down from their fuzzy stems. Once pollinated, the stem will straighten, the petals will wilt, and the flower will develop into a feathery head resembling its namesake: smoke.  

Scarlet Tanager

Nearby, three male scarlet tanagers cavort high in the treetops. They sing in raspy tones while one preens itself. Maybe getting ready for a night on the town?

Mary Beth Pottratz is a MN Master Naturalist Volunteer. More information about the program is available at https://westmetromasternaturalists.weebly.com/ .

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