Spot the Wild Flora
Liverwort (Hepatica Nobilis)
These oh-so-delicate woodland natives are early risers. Just as the snow melts they poke up their heads through the leaf litter. Their pale amethyst petals are a welcome site on a forest stroll.
Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra Cucullaria)
You may be intrigued by this form of bleeding heart growing wild in the woods. The fimbriation of the foliage is a dead giveaway to its heritage and the nodding waxy booms are a delight.
Shadblow (Amelanchier Laevis)
Steeped in folklore, this indigenous tree fills the understory with clouds of soft white just about when the shad are running in the river. The tasty blue berries ripen around the summer solstice giving you twice the pleasure.
Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)
This is the first of the forest shade trees to bloom. Maybe not as showy to some, but the tiny puff balls of red pop out in contrast to the silver bark—then bam, in the early autumn, scarlet leaves stop traffic on the mountain.
Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium Aucale)
To discover this rare native orchid on a hike is truly an eye opener. The pink pouch resembles a moccasin, therefore the popular name: Lady’s Slipper. These stunners are only found in the highest elevations.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)
White puffs of cotton candy dance atop the grassy wet roadside ditches. It is none other than the wild meadowsweet. Flower gatherers will need their hip boots to snatch these showstoppers.
Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)
These bright, happy harbingers of summer are completely content living on rocky crags with little for their shallow roots to cling to. The spurs atop the flowers attract attention of many pollinators in the neighborhood.
Ramps (Allium tricoccum)
Yes, actually an onion resembling a lily, this popular wildflower rarely blooms. It pops up on menu specials in the spring, for the tangy taste of the leaves is quite popular.
PLANT IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
By Andrew Koehn, Scribner’s resident botanist | Illustrations: Alyssa Kiefer