Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nature Guide: Early Spring Flowers

Here are some early spring flowers you can see along the D&R Canal right now. They're considered weeds by some experts, but somehow they still brighten your walk along the towpath.

Viola sororia, Common Blue Violet, is the state flower of New Jersey, Wisconsin, Illinois and Rhode Island. It blooms from April to June and has numerous common names, including Common Meadow Violet, Hooded Violet, Wild Violet, Wooly Blue Violet and Sister Violet.

Rununculus ficaria, also known as Lesser Celandine, Fig Buttercup, Spring Messenger and Pilewort, blooms from March through May. The poet William Wordsworth was so fond of this flower that it inspired him to write three poems about it. Celandines also appear in C. S. Lewis'sThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and in J. R .R. Tolkien's The Two Towers.

Claytonia virginica, Spring Beauty or Virginia Springbeauty, flowers between March and May. The plant is native to eastern North America. Its scientific name was chosen by Linnaeus to honor Colonial Virginia botanist, John Clayton.