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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:42 PM   #1
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Default Spring Ephemerals

It's been a wonderfully warm and wet start to Springtime here in East Tennessee, perfect conditions for the early spring wildflowers. They're often called Spring Ephemerals because they bloom and complete their life cycle quick and early in the spring, before the trees begin to leaf out. Here are a few from some recent local hikes...

Bloodroot is a spring ephemeral in the poppy family. It's named for the thick red (somewhat blook-like) sap in its underground root-like rhizome.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:43 PM   #2
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t's easy to confuse Bloodroot and this much less common spring bloom. Twinleaf is about the same size as bloodroot, and has similar, but not identical flowers. Biggest difference is the leaves. Each Twinleaf leaf looks like two leaves connected at the middle - like "siamese twin" leaves. Both Bloodroot and Twinleaf bloom for a very short time, dropping their petals in just a few days.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:43 PM   #3
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Rue Anemone may be pink or white. Often called "windflower" because the slightest breeze makes the blooms dance! (Also makes it hard to get a sharp photo...)
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:44 PM   #4
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We have two species of Spring Beauty here in East Tennessee. This is the less common species - Carolina Spring Beauty. Their tiny flowers only open to sunshine - insuring that nectar and pollen are protected from rain, and from the lack of pollinating insects on cold, cloudy days.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:45 PM   #5
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Trout lily leaves are speckled like a trout! They are a favorite with our early butterflies, who spread the abundant pollen from bloom to bloom.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:45 PM   #6
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Butterflies also enjoy Toothwort nectar. Here's a Clouded Sulphur, helping to pollinate this Toothwort.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:46 PM   #7
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Leatherwood is one of our earliest-blooming woody shrubs. They may grow to be 6 or 7 feet tall, and are covered with these odd, spicy-smelling blooms in early spring on sunny limestone slopes.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:46 PM   #8
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Will close with one of our odder spring flowers. Bear Corn has no chlorophyll - it's a parasite that draws its sustenance from Oak tree roots. Chipmunks enjoy the seed pods, and help spread the seeds by excreting them in their dens, often under oak trees.
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Old Apr 8, 2014, 7:47 PM   #9
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Hope you enjoyed this little wildflower walk, and that you'll share your comments & critique!
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