Mariton: Wildflower Season
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus.
Wildflowers are really starting to bloom at Mariton. These photos are just a sampling of the wildflowers at Mariton. Hopefully this will whet the appetite of people who love this time of year and love checking out what else is in bloom. Thanks to Carole Mebus for these photos.
Early Saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis) grows only in certain dry and rocky places at Mariton. Unfortunately, it likes growing in the middle of one trail in particular. Fortunately, hikers are generally good and walk around this early blooming wildflower. I generally tell people to look up and enjoy the world around them, but at this time of year it is good to look down so you can avoiding trampling the treasures of woodland wildflowers.
We have three different species of trilliums blooming right now. The Lemon-scented Trillium (Trillium luteum) is big and beautiful and gets a lot of the attention. I found one of these up in the woods this spring far from the original while working on invasive plants this spring. That was a pleasant surprise, and rewarding knowing that the invasive work we’ve been doing probably allowed it to move into new areas. The White Trillium (T. grandiflorum) is gorgeous but short-lived. I have placed cages around some of the specimens because this species is readily eaten by deer. The cluster of White Trilliums is spreading out into the forest and I hope someday it may spread on its own to new locations. The Purple Trillium (T. erectum) is smaller and often overlooked by people walking along the trails.
Perfoliated Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) is so abundant at Mariton that even seasoned wildflower lovers like me could take it for granted (but we don’t!). It is a beautiful shy flower that often hides its beautiful blossom by hanging its head. I don’t think anyplace has as much Perfoliated Bellwort as Mariton. The related Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and False Solomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa) are also abundant this spring.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is super abundant this spring. It is easy to see as you walk along the trails. And the volunteers pulling garlic mustard (Allaria officinalis) remark how much Jack-in-the-Pulpit they are seeing as they work. Not only mature plants, but lots of young sprouts that will flower in future years.
And if the wildflowers aren’t reason enough for a visit, the songs of Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, and other spring migrants are filling the forest with great music.