Friday, June 11, 2010

I've Discovered The Secret To Time Travel!

It's already mid-June. Where did Spring 2010 go? There were so many plants that I had hoped to see in flower this year that have already done their thing. Given that the average lifespan of a human male is approximately 72 years, I only have approximately 38 more seasons to see the spring wildflowers. Sort of depressing, really. Therefore, I've developed a means of time travel to allow me to see the spring wildflowers at various times during the year. All you've got to do is spend April in Missouri/Arkansas, May in Indiana/Ohio, and June in northern Wisconsin.

Take, for example, the genus Trillium. After seeing Trillium pusillum var. ozarkanum, Trillium recurvatum, Trillium sessile, Trillium viride, and Trillium viridescens in Arkansas and Missouri in April, I saw Trillium flexipes, Trillium grandiflorum, Trillium recurvatum, and Trillium sessile blooming in Indiana in May. I was sure I had seen the last of the Trillium flowers for the year, when this week in Superior, Wisconsin, I saw Trillium cernuum in bloom, shown above.

Castilleja coccinea has a long blooming period in this part of the country. Regardless, I have now seen it flowering in Missouri in April and now in Superior, Wisconsin in June (above).

It's been a productive year for finding Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens in flower. I saw this stunner this year first in Arkansas in April, then in Ohio in May, and this week (June) in Superior, Wisconsin (shown above). If I continued my travels north, I could find this species blooming as late as August at the northern extent of its range!

Although Cypripedium acaule blooms in the Chicago Region until mid- to late-June, I was pretty sure I had missed it this year... until I spent time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin this week. Above, it is shown in bloom on June 10 at Erickson Creek Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area in Douglas County, Wisconsin.

When I saw Clintonia borealis in northern Indiana on 26 May 2010, it was already finished flowering and the characteristic "bluebead" fruit were beginning to form. Again, all I had to do to turn back the clock was to go north. This week, it was blooming in profusion in Douglas County, Wisconsin, as shown above.

Okay, so it isn't really time travel, but I'm doing everything I can, given my limited time for botanizing, to essentially slow down the progression of spring. Until a time machine really is created, following plants as they flower from south to north is the best I can do.


Ted C. MacRae said...

That's an impressive list of species for one spring. I had no idea there were that many Trilliums.

The orchids are, of course, fantastic!

Scott Namestnik said...

Hi Ted. You should check out the book Trilliums by Fred and Roberta Case. You would be amazed. Many of them have very small, localized ranges as well.

Eric Hunt said...

Hehehe, I do the same thing in California, except instead of going north, I gain altitude. You literally get to re-experience spring over and over again. Two weeks ago I was at 6000 feet in the Mendocino mountains photographing plants that bloom at sea level in early March!

Scott Namestnik said...

Not much altitude in Indiana...

Mike Whittemore said...

Hey Scott! Heading to AR and MO to do some mid-march botanizing. I know of some T. pusillum var. ozarkanum sites but not T. viride or T. viridescens. Wondering if you can offer any help locating easily accessible populations. I know I'll get T. pusillum - hoping the mild winter weather brings an early emergence of the others! Thank you! - Mike

Scott Namestnik said...

Hi Mike. I sent an email to your Yahoo account instead of posting details here. Let me know if you didn't get it.