Monday, May 4, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

A week ago it was nice and sunny, so I took a stroll in a nearby park that borders the Bronx River here in southern Weschester County, not all that far from New York City. I tried out my new camera and got some nice pics of wildflowers in full bloom. Two species of four petaled white flowered Dentaria, D. diphylla (trifoliate leaves, a bit droopy in the pic) and D. laciniata were growing in the woods, along with yellow Viola pennsylvanica and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), which were more common near the path and in more open areas. In fact the claytonia is far more abundant in the grass along the highway, it grows, seeds, and dies back before they cut the grass. I was late for the best of the dogtooth violets (Erythronium americanum), but I found a decent clump in bloom on a slope in dappled sunlight. The eight petaled Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) made an exquite display, but as others have found its presence in the garden seems to be fleeting, it grows fine one year and disappears the next. At least it does well in its woodland habitat. A single white five petaled flower atop a whorl of trifoliate leaves is characteristic of the diminutive Anemone quinquefolia, which forms small colonies in the woods, but is not as common locally as the other species mentioned. There are also thriving colonies of Dutchman Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria, in these woods, always on sloping ground, but most were fading fast by the time I got to see them this year. Woodland habitats are in fast retreat in this area due to development, so it is nice to know that even the small strips that remain offer a modest haven to our natural flora.

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