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Spring Ephemerals


Spring is here and flowers are popping up everywhere, in this case, flowers that no one planted, they just appear every spring and go away when the weather warms up. Spring ephemeral refers to wildflowers that bloom briefly in the spring, often before deciduous trees leaf out to take advantage of the warm sunshine. The Greek word ephemeros means "lasting a day", referring to the short lived flowers. The foliage disappears shortly after they stop flowering and the plant goes dormant until the following spring. They grow under many different conditions. Examples of forest plants are Louisiana wakerobin (Trillium ludovicianum), yellow troutlily (Erythronium rostratum) and Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), an indicator species for undisturbed habitat has a tiny white or pink flower that produces a bright carpet in old sunny fields. The plants listed above thrive in disappearing habitats so order them from reputable nurseries for your garden. But you don't have to go far to see this spring ephemeral, look around your yard now for violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea). It pops up in lawns, flower beds and cracks in the cement! Want more wood sorrel? Divide the tubers and plant where you want them before the warm weather sets in. But look around quick, these beauties will be gone before you know it!

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