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Mariton: Summer Woodland Flowers

June 25, 2011

Most forest plants need to flower early in the spring.  They need to take care of business before the trees overhead block the precious solar energy necessary for reproduction.   There, of course, are exceptions.  Two of the exceptions are blooming right now in Mariton’s woods, and they are spectacular.

Rhododendron

The native Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) blooms at the end of June.  Personally, while the ones planted in yards have beautiful colors, they don’t hold a candle to the beauty of our native tree.  Now is the peak of the blossoms at Mariton, so you want to get out to see them this weekend.  The best places are on the River Lookout Trail.  You can also find several along the Main Trail.  While you are visiting take note of the girth of Mariton’s Rhodies.  They are huge and very old.

Black Cohosh

Another eye-catcher is the Black Cohosh (Cimicfuga racemosa).  Looking at the photo above, you can see why children call them Fairy Candles.  In the deep woods the bright white flowers light the understory.  My favorite place to view these is along the River Lookout. 

We often think of summer wildflowers in the fields, but these two are worth a walk in the woods.

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