FAWN LILIES AND FRIENDS.....
Here in Maine, we continue to see a progressive parade of wildflowers. These you see here may be called a number of different names including Fawn Lily, Adder's Tongue, Dogtooth Violet and Trout Lily among others. It is a lily, the earliest to bloom. Its mottled leaves spear up through the ground like a tongue, but are spotted like a fawn. So take your pick, but enjoy it while you can because this plant is ephemeral and only lasts for a while until the trees above leaf out. One thing you might puzzle over in patches of these plants are white coils of plant material. I often wondered about finding these, until their source was explained in a wonderful book on wildflowers called Hedgemaids and Fairy Candles by Jack Sanders. There, these white root growths were called "droppers" that mistakenly surface, then plunge down again to spread the plant. Underground, these white threads expand from the mother plant to grow new corms, the base of a new Fawn Lily. As you can see from the picture to the right, these droppers are active as the leaves of the plant start to dry and disappear.
The naturalist, John Burroughs, also preferred the name Fawn Lily for this flower and described it in this way......"its two leaves stand up like fawn's ears, and this feature with its recurved petals, gives it an alert, wide-awake look". Usually, the flower looks away from you, so in the picture to the left, I held one so you could see its interior.
Frogs of various kinds can now be found on our walks. Near a vernal pool, a Wood Frog was found taking a sun bath. Peepers are still singing, and this week we found two hopping about in the woods. These are tree frogs and use their sticky toes to climb, and escape from capture. Here is one that held still for a photo, showing its distinctive pointed nose and patterning on its back usually forming an X. This is about as large as they get. Another we observed was half this size....figure an inch or two in length, so they are not easy to see. We also found a Green Frog, and on another occasion, a small Bull Frog. Recent days have seen some intermittent rain, but many of the pools where these frogs have left their eggs are drying up.
And by the way, the campground is now open for camping, two weeks earlier than usual! I think it is mostly weekenders who are taking advantage of this opportunity, but it is a great time to see and hear signs of spring. In the woods, you might see the leaves of Moosewood opening and producing their flowers. These trees are in the maple family, and eventually the flowers will produce winged seeds like their relatives. I find these emerging leaves quite beautiful with their bud covers a rosey color. The budded flowers in this picture will eventually be yellow and bell shaped.
Another exciting happening at
the campground is the presence of a nesting Pileated Woodpecker
who has chiseled out a neat hole in a power line pole near the
shower building on Island Road! This is worth checking out.
Just for the record, other flowers now in bloom include Clintonia, Starflower, Strawberry, Wood Anemones, Bellwort and Bluets. Those still in bud include Pink Ladyslippers, Canada Mayflower, Indian Cucumber Root and Sarsparilla. Ferns are unrolling and adding to the charm of the woodlands. What is happening in your neck of the woods? 5/8/10 Ronnie in bloom!