March 14th, 2016. I went on a fungus hunt with a couple of mycophiles yesterday, hoping that we’d find some mushrooms after the recent rain.
We walked along the equestrian trail to the creek and began to work our way back across county.
We explored one of the side drainages, and spent some time accessing areas to the side of one of the trails – circled in blue - that I had walked a couple of weeks ago. This area is a deciduous forest that hadn’t leafed out yet. I hadn’t expected to see many wildflowers but I was to be surprised.
Buckeyes (Aesculus sp.) were leafing and budding out throughout the area. I’m betting most of these are Painted Buckeyes (Aesculus sylvatica); this is a common species in this area. But time will tell…
As I climbed from the creek bottom to the trail running along a ridge, I almost stepped on this Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) plant, looking like a little, lime-green torpedo, just pushing its way out of the ground. Just two plants in this location, in a small ‘gully’ where water ran down the hillside when it rained.
Beside the trail, I found a lone Wlld Geranium (Geranium maculatum) blooming. Judging by the number of geranium leaves in this area, this may be a mini-meadow of geranium blooms before too long.
On the other side of the trail, down the hill in another small drainage gully, another pair of Mayapple plants making their appearance.
When I first walked this trail, I’d seen a single Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa) blooming at the base of a tree. This particular plant had finished blooming, but I found…
several plants in full bloom, as well as…
one that had new buds.
Another surprise! One of several Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) plants in bloom along this section of trail.
The final wildflower blooming along this section of the trail was Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum).
We made our way from the trail back down to the main stream. As I worked my way along the steep hill above the creek, I was rewarded with finding another…
Bloodroot plant in bloom. This one looked like a ‘double.’
And finally, back to the main trail that led up the hill and back to the parking lot.
I was surprised by the variety of early wildflowers in this area that, a couple of weeks previously, was a forest floor covered with leaf litter with little sign of herbaceous plant life.
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Aesculus sylvatica
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Podophyllum peltatum
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Geranium maculatum
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Sanguinaria canadensis
Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Chrysogonum virginianum