Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Beauty

The simplest of flowers often display the greatest beauty. It’s not hard to see where the Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica, came by its name. The pink stripes give a fine definition to the white petals and the pink anthers lend an unreal quality to the whole arrangement. Add a sweet scent and you may have the perfect flower.

The Spring Beauty is a woodland plant, but I seem to find it more often in overgrown fence rows and partially shaded open areas. It’s probably the most abused of the spring wildflowers and is regularly stepped on and mowed over with disdain. Many people view the Spring Beauty’s ruggedness as being a weedy quality and object to its appearance in the shady areas of the lawn.

Spring Beauty may keep company with some of the more undesirable characters, but I view that as a strength that I wish more of our native plants would demonstrate. The Spring Beauty refuses to give ground to the exotic invaders and bravely moves forward to engage the enemy. I welcome this plant wherever I find it.

The blooming season lasts for several weeks. New buds continually rotate upward to replace the waning blooms. The plant spreads easily by seed and the many flowers can result in dozens of viable seeds scattered around the area.

Each plant has a single pair of grass-like leaves located on the stem roughly half way between the ground and the flowers. It’s the job of these leaves to provide the energy needed to produce mature seed and to create enough stored energy to carry the plant through the winter. This energy is stored in a fat, underground stem called a corm. When the rest of the plant dies away, the corm remains to begin growth in the next year.

1 comment:

  1. That is an adorable flower I wouldn't if they where growing on my lawn!! They sure would be welcome over dandelions!! Nice info: