Sunday, April 8, 2012

More Woodland Wildflowers in Bloom

   Our wildflower hunting adventures continued this weekend with some more fun finds. Ample rains this winter have contributed to a healthy flush of plants, we're noticing everything looking particularly lush. Here are some more examples of plants you're likely to see here in the Roanoke Valley, specifically these were found on Mill Mountain. I really got lucky, we were able to park the car on the side of the road and despite still being on crutches I was able to hobble along on the trail and roadside just enough to get to see these plants. Many thanks to Jeff for scouting out the spot ahead of time!

We'll start with my favorite from the day...

At first, I thought surely this must be a non-native, it looks too healthy! But, my books suggest otherwise, it's native Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii) and grows 1-3 feet tall with umbels 2-4 inches across on moist, wooded slopes.

We found quite a large mass of these plants and the white flowers made quite a statement in the dark woods. I have a weakness for big, bushy perennials.

At the opposite end of the size scale we have another Bellwort, this time Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata), easily identified by how the stem perforates the leaves. Yes, that's English Ivy in the background, planted in the early 1900's to stabilize the slope when this road was built. Another example of good intentions gone bad. Despite so much English Ivy covering the forest floor, many native plants still manage to flourish here.

Continuing the tiny theme, here are two more extremely small natives we found, Bird's Foot Violet (Viola pedata) Early Blue Violet (Viola palmata) and Pennywort (Obolaria virginica). Most everyone has seen these violets before, but Pennywort is easy to miss, growing only 3-6 inches tall and being almost the same color as the ground.

Here's another shot, close up. If not for looking at the violet, I wouldn't have spotted them.

Here's another plant, like the Sweet Cicely, growing in abundance in this same area. I really struggled with this one, trying to decide whether is was a Meadow Parsnip (Thaspium) or Golden Alexander (Zizia). Every plant looked slightly different, making ID frustrating, but I'm going to go ahead and call it Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea). 

*As always, I confess I'm no expert, feel free to suggest if I've made an error in identifications. 


  1. I think that is Viola × palmata, not bird's foot violet.

  2. You've done a great job of noticing, not to mention labeling these little wildflower treasures. It's so hard to know what you are looking at, especially when they first emerge. Happy flower hunting!

  3. Ellen, I think you're right, don't know how I messed that one up.

    Laurrie, Thanks! It's really a lot of fun, kinda like an Easter egg hunt!

  4. The Perfoliate Bellwort is an interesting looking plant

  5. kirstallcreatures, Yeah it's definitely a neat plant, and of all the Bellworts I think the Perfoliate is my favorite.

  6. Great finds Julie. I have Zizia in my yard as it's a common prairie plant in the midwest in dry sites. I planted a lot of Sweet Cicely too a couple of years ago and just love it in the woodland areas of the yard.