A few weeks ago we pulled over to take a picture of a quite beautiful patch of blooming Epigaea repens. As we were walking back to the Jeep, Keith peeked up into the woods across the street, and thanks to the lack of leaves on the trees he could see quite a ways in. What he saw was enough to make us come back for a closer inspection as things have woken up.
Similar to the spot in Maine where we found the spring ephemerals a couple of weeks ago, this was a semi rich to rich talus slope with lots of sugar maple, hophornbeam, and wet ledges. Ohhhh the possibilities!
We are right in prime Trillium erectum (red trillium) bloom time. Trillium cernuum and Trillium undulatum will be coming up next! Trillium blooming, ferns unfurling…. few pictures say ‘spring’ more than this!
Sometimes I find myself saying “Ohhh, it’s just Trillium…” Such a common plant in our area, it’s easy to start looking past them. They really are, however, a beautiful flower.
Per Arthur Haines and Flora Novae Angliae, this white colored trillium is a “sporadic color morph” and not a formal variation on the normal red/maroon. When I came across it I incorrectly assumed it was a variation alba, just like the Pogonia ophioglossoides var. alba and the Cypripedium acaule var. alba we saw last year.
Asplenium trichomanes, or maidenhair spleenwort, was the find of the day! Although it’s not ranked in New Hampshire, we’d only ever seen it in Vermont! This was a nice population; at least two dozen plants. There are six Asplenium species in New England, five knows as spleenworts and one know as walking fern (another target for us!).
Lichens can be exciting, too! Peltigera aphthosa, or felt lichen, is not so common! New Hampshire sightings of this in iNaturalist, idigbio, and lichenportal.org are all limited to the White Mountains.
And Lobaria pulmonaria, our old friend lungwort, is always a pleasure to see. I take lichens like lungwort for granted sometimes, but we are lucky to have these in our forests, as they are extremely sensitive to air pollution.
This spot will certainly give us more to look as the seasons unfold, and it all started by pulling over for a patch of trailing arbutus. While Keith is a master of finding locations and habitats using Google Earth and bedrock maps, a little bit of luck never hurts! Keep those eyes open….you’ll never know what you’ll find!