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Don’t Miss ‘Em! Spring Ephemerals

March 11, 2016 - Latest, Naturalist's Notes

Many of us are familiar with the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” but if you look closely on your next walk through the woods, you may be surprised to find a few small beauties already in bloom!

These woodland flowers, called “spring ephemerals,” emerge before the leaves have fully grown on the trees. Without leaf cover, there is more sunlight to allow them to grow and store food, and their blooms are a welcome pop of color to the still sleeping forest floor. They also provide much needed pollen and nectar for early spring bees and butterflies!

Alas, their colorful presence is short lived; as soon as the trees are fully covered in leaves, these flowers no longer receive enough sunlight, and their blooms die off. The plant itself is still alive though, storing the food it produced until next spring.

While you may find spring ephemerals in the woods throughout the area, one of the best places to get an up close look is here at Irvine! Our Woodland Garden, located just off the Vista Loop trail, is planted with many different kinds of native plants, including some of these spring beauties! The garden is surrounded by a tall fence to protect the plants from deer browsing, and the area offers a nice quiet place to relax and enjoy nature.

Now that the weather is really starting to warm up, and spring is in the air, make sure you get outside and take a moment to catch these quick blooming flowers before it’s too late!