Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day Flowers

As an elementary school student in Missouri, I always anxiously awaited the First Day of May and the traditional making of the May Day flower basket. I always opted for the most easily constructed design, where you cut your construction paper to create one strip and one square piece and then glued the ends of the strip to opposite corners of the square to form a sling type basket. Baskets in hand, we would all troop out into the school yard to collect flowers with which to fill the baskets. The whole activity might have been a ploy to get the lawn cleared of dandelions, because that made up the bulk of flowers collected. To celebrate my early May Day memories, I’m offering a sampling of some of the flowers currently blooming at Blue Jay Barrens. Let’s start with Wood Betony, Pedicularis canadensis.

Viewed from above, the curved flowers resemble a pinwheel. This is one of those plants that adds colorful leaves to create a very striking display.

Hoary Puccoon, Lithospermum canescens, is the earliest of the showy bloomers on the prairie. Flowering usually continues for several weeks. Being a regular part of the prairie, it’s naturally being attended by Allegheny Mound Ants.

Field Pussytoes, Antennaria neglecta, have been blooming for a couple of weeks now. It usually takes a close examination to see that they are really in bloom. This is the host plant of the American Painted Lady and I’m lucky enough to see several of these lovely butterflies each year.

Bluets, Hedyotis caerulea, are still going strong. These flowers came on early in the season and are making a tremendous display this year.

It’s impossible to find a time when the chandelier like flowers of the Early Meadow Rue, Thalictrum dioicum, are not blowing in the wind. I love the look of this plant, but I can never get a clear picture, because it never stays still.

Wild Blue Phlox, Phlox divaricata, is blooming everywhere. There were many different shades of blue and purple blossoms to choose from, but I thought this best fit my mood at the time.

Jack in the Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, is just beginning to bloom.

There’s Jack, protected by his hood. I’ve always enjoyed this plant. It’s got an exotic, mysterious look about it. Happy May Day.

1 comment:

  1. I am so jealous,because we don't have that Wood Betony here!! That flower is gorgeous!! We do have Bluets and Jack, but I do love the Field pussytoes too!! Looks like things are just a blooming for you!! :~}