Saturday, April 12, 2008

Beauties & Breeches

One of the neat aspects of SPRING, is seeing the small flowers that re introduce us to the wonders of it all…
In a far corner near the woods I have ever so carefully guarded some of the small wild flowers that like the edge of the woods…surrounded by river stone …their tiny emergence has always been a delight.

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While some of the pictures are not so great, I did manage to get a few good ones.

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Later today I will be planting more but in another area on the edge of the Woods…Next spring, if all goes well I shall see more beauties in another area. Meanwhile I pour over the seed and plant catalogues and drool…

Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.)

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in the Pacific Northwest.
The western populations of Dicentra cucullaria appear to have been separated
from the eastern ones for at least one thousand years according to the Flora of
North America.
Dutchman’s Breeches blooms in the early spring from March to April.
Flowers are white to pink and resemble a pair of pantaloons hanging upside down.
The flowers wilt almost immediately upon picking so they should not be collected in the wild.
The one or more finely compound leaves make the plant appear fern-like.
This perennial species has rice-like seed bulbs and is an attractive addition to any garden in moist shady areas.
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Among some northern tribes it may have been used as a love charm or for seduction. Imagine a young man chewing the root and circling the intended female breathing out the fragrance in the belief that once she smells it she will follow him even against her will.
Another thing I learned ~Dutchman's Breeches sounds so silly, but this tiny spring ephemeral's bloom really looks like a white pair of white pants with the slightly yellowed pockets turned out. The pale green foliage is fern like and delicate. The blooms alternate up a stalk and dangle. It is easy to miss because of size as well as fleeting presence but well worth looking for and easy to recognize ever after one's first sighting. Dutchman's Breeches grow primarily in deep, old growth forests with deciduous trees. They bloom in very early spring and then disappear (foliage and all) once the leaf canopy fills in.

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The queen bumblebee with her long tongue is the most likely pollinator of this plant. She emerges from the ground in early Spring to begin her egg laying. Her worker bees will pollinate and obtain nutrients from other species of plants that have a longer life cycle. One queen bee gaining sustenance from and subsequently pollinating a few Dutchman's Breeches when no other flower is yet available will give rise to an entire colony of bees to pollinate the spring and summer fruits and vegetables.

The seeds of Dutchman's Breeches are spread by ants. In Patuxent (an old growth forest area in Maryland), Appalachian mound ants are common, as are Dutchman's Breeches. On a walk today (late April) most of the Dutchman's Breeches were already going to seed, and the ant mounds were almost visibly growing. Neat timing, huh?

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YA think these “Breeches” are new Spring clothes for the Fairies?

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Good Site Here!

Some pictures of CAROLINA SPRING BEAUTY [Claytonia caroliniana] are in today’s post as well.
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The genus was named in honor of John Clayton, an early American botanist who supplied the material for an eighteenth-century book on the flora of Virginia. Spring Beauty grows from edible, underground tubers that were relished by Native Americans because of their chestnut-like flavor.

9 comments:

imac said...

Super post. nice macro as well.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Great Post
I only came across these flower this week, so all this info is fantastic.. I really like the names..

Tom

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Spring is looking good where you are! I can hardly wait to see the very same beauties in the forests here in Ontario! Thanks for the fresh breath of spring.

Kerri said...

Lovely!

DeeMom said...

IMAC and TOM thanks
Your EG Tour Guide appreciate your popping in
And Kerri thanks

WE just got in from a FULL days work and it is NOT done YET………………….BUT we made a dent…………..;)

oldmanlincoln said...

This is a neat set of photographs and information about them. Nice post.

This Sunday morning it is all of 37 degrees here in SW Ohio where Tecumseh once ran on paths made by the wood buffalo.

We did get warm enough for a couple of days for daffodils and some crocus to pop up but they popped down again.

Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi again Dee..
Thanks for your comment about Hard Times farm..
It is in fact a working Dairy farm, and also rents out fields and buildings for horses.. theres a few sheep. It really looks rough, but the garden at the side as a great feeding station for birds and I have had a few good shots around there. The people seem very private but also friendly.
Tom

Ki said...

I always loved the look of Dutchman's breeches but never got around to buying some. Lovely photos. Do they have a tendency to spread like their relatives the bleeding hearts?

DeeMom said...

Ki they are slow to spread, OR at least in the location I have...

I am starting another wildflower area, and will have some there, so as they say "Time will tell"