poetry and prose about place

wildflowers in the rich spring hardwoods

with 5 comments

On our drive and hike along the South Branch Dunbar Stream, north of Fredericton, we encountered many spring wildflowers.  The Trout Lily (Erythronium americana Ker) was everywhere, in extensive carpets, especially in hummocky areas (see my post for June 1, 2012).  The delicate Wood Anemone was just beginning its bloom, also in dense carpets of feathery foliage. Other plants in these woods included the Purple Trillium and Green Hellebore.

The Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia L.) is one of our less common plants.  Its leaves are deeply toothed with 3 to 5 parts.  The ‘flower’ is white and five-petalled, not really a flower at all, but the white sepals of the plant.

The Purple Trillium (Trillium erectum L.), also known as the Wakerobin, is a showy plant with the parts in three’s.  The flower is maroon or purple, and, as in our case, may be nodding, in spite of the name (erectum meaning erect).  The flower is known by its purple ovary (female part of the flower) and its nasty odor.  You can eat the very young leaves of the Purple Trillium, but they are not usually in large abundance, so to protect the plants, I recommend just enjoying their bloom.

The light green leaves of Green or False Hellebore (Veratrum viride Ait.) were also conspicuous in the woods,  I see them in woods along rivers all over our area.  They are large plants, made up of heavily ribbed, pleated, clasping leaves.  The leaves are parallel veined and do not smell like skunk, unlike the Skunk-Cabbage which has netted veins in the leaves and a skunky odor.  Later, the Green Hellbore will have large clusters of yellow-green star-shaped flowers.  This plant is poisonous.

We enjoyed our hike, and saw a beaver tending his dam and a narrow, raging waterfall pouring into the South Branch of the Dunbar, probably only a trickle in summer after the heavy spring rains are gone.


©  Jane Tims  2012

5 Responses

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  1. It is always a joy to read your blogs, to see the wonderful photos and to read the explanations about so many things which are familiar to me but about which I really know next to nothing. Thank you.


    Carol Steel

    June 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    • Hi Carol. Thank you for such a nice comment. I like it when I pass on a bit of knowledge. I also learn a lot from your blog. Jane


      jane tims

      June 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

  2. My friend was looking for some trillium when we visited a wildflower garden at our local arboretum a couple of years ago – now I can picture what she wanted to see, as we never did find any… Very enchanting! I’d love to take a walk in the woods with you some day and soak up some of your knowledge of edible and poisonous plants.


    Barbara Rodgers

    June 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

    • Hi Barbara. I wish I was closer so we could have a look at some of the plants in your area! Trillium is a beautiful wild flower, to me symbolic of the natural woods. On our own property, we have the Painted Trillium, now finished its blooming. It has a similar shape, but white petals with streaks of dark red. Jane


      jane tims

      June 4, 2012 at 7:07 am

  3. Fabulous post, pictures, illustration…



    June 3, 2012 at 5:29 am

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