March winds and April showers may bring forth May flowers, But wildflower enthusiasts know to start looking much earlier than May, or even April. Can you match up these early bloomers with their descriptions?
1. Bird’s-Foot Violet
5. Ground Ivy
6. Round-Lobed Hepatica
7. Skunk Cabbage
9. Spring Beauty
10. Trailing Arbutus
11. Virginia Cowslip
12. Yellow Star Grass
A. This low-growing plant features clusters of white or pinkish flowers with a dark pink stripe. It blooms from March to May. Its underground tuber, which is said to taste like chestnuts, was eaten by Native Americans.
B. This flower blooms from February to May. The respiration from its rapid growth produces enough heat to melt the snow around it. Its pungent aroma attracts small flies, one of this plant’s pollinators.
C. This fragrant evergreen with pink or white flowers blooms from February to May among fallen leaves. Its scarcity may be due its sensitivity to disturbances, such as lumbering and grazing.
D. A lobed, basal leaf curls around the stalk of this single white flower, which opens in full sun and closes at night. Native Americans used the juice from its underground stem for war paint, dye and as an insect repellent. It blooms from March to May.
E. Look carefully from March through September, or you will miss the tiny yellow star-shaped flowers growing from a hairy stem in groups of three.
F. This common wildflower blooms in lawns from March through September. The bright yellow flowers of this plant open and close every day, although they might not open at all on a cloudy or rainy day. It gets its name from its petals, which are said to resemble the teeth of a lion.
G. This dandelion-like plant is often found blooming along roadsides from February to June. Teas and hard candy made from this plant’s leaves are reputed to help cure coughs. It is not advisable to use plants growing along roads for this purpose as they are more than likely contaminated by car exhausts.
H. Also known as Virginia bluebells, these showy, blue, trumpet-shaped flowers are hard to miss when growing in moist woodlands from March through June.
I. The tiny violet flowers of this plant, also known as Gill-over-the-ground, blooms from March to July. The latter name is derived from the French word, guiller, which means to ferment, because the scalloped leaves of this creeper were once used to flavor beer.
J. This plant, which blooms from March to June, gets its name from its deeply cut leaves, which grow on separate stalks. No less stunning are its showy blue-violet flowers, which are larger than its relatives. The sweet scent of its flowers attracts bees and butterflies, which pollinate the plant. This sweetness is not lost on humans, who use the flowers to make perfume and jelly or eat them outright. By weight, they contain three times as much vitamin C as oranges.
K. This plant’s dense clusters of tiny, pale yellow flowers have earned it the nickname, “forsythia of the wilds.” Its leaves have a spicy fragrance when crushed. Birds — veeries and thrushes in particular — feast on its shiny, berry-like drupes.
L. This low plant with single lavender-blue, pinkish or white flowers on hairy stalks blooms from March to June. It was once used to treat liver ailments because its three-lobed basal leaves resemble that organ.
1-J 2-D 3-G 4-F 5-I 6-L 7-B 8-K 9-A 10-C 11-H 12-E