Sunday, April 24, 2016

curving back on red

curving back on red 
stem, lily petals rocket
from yellow stamens

The angel wings of Duchman's Breeches have flown away. Where they touched the earth, pink and white Spring Beauty polka-dot the ground.

Interspersed among them, Sweet William, Bluebells, and Violets in shades of deep purple, magenta, pale lavender and bright yellow.


In the wooded hills dipping down to Pilgrim Creek, the shade-loving wildflowers are in bloom -- Red Trillium with their three splotched leaves and three burgundy petals, white Trout Lilies like shooting stars, white Anemones with their scalloped leaves, and glossy Buttercups with fringed leaves.


Trout Lily is a strange name for a flower that looks like a shooting star. Erythronium's common name is based on the appearance of the leaf, shaped like a speckled trout. Some of the plant's other common names are equally odd -- Adder's Tongue, Dog's-tooth Violet. Fawn Lily comes closest to describing the graceful blossom with its spotted leaves.

One entire hillside looks like a green sea with shiny waves -- the dark green umbrellas of May Apples glinting in the sunlight, each single lime-green flower bud curving down from the junction of its pair of protective leaves.

The Wild Plum blossoms are fading, but now the Redbuds are in bloom, their small pink flowers popping like pompoms directly out of the bark, with baby heart leaves at the tips of stems. Our neighbor's honeybees are hard at work with all this bounty of blossoms.

Now the Buckeye flower buds have opened. On the Ohio Buckeyes (Aesculus glabra) with green leaves and chartreuse flower cones, tubular yellow blossoms sport curvy white filaments tipped in orange that extend fan inch beyond the lips of the flowers, giving the long cone a bottlebrush appearance. On the Red Buckeyes (Aesculus pavia) with rosy racemes, the clusters of blossoms are cherry red.

Sadly, many of the Buckeyes down by the creek have wilted leaves. Not yellow or brown-edged, just dark green and drooping. It's the first time in the two decades we've lived here that I've ever seen this. We've had plenty of rain, so it could be a reaction to too much moisture in the soil. I hope it is not a wilt leaf disease of some sort, perhaps caused by the soil fungus, Verticillium. So far, the five young trees growing on high ground near our house show no signs of leaf wilt. But it would be a major loss if the creek's stately stand of Buckeyes died. But what to do? Wait and watch, so often the only thing that can be done.

No comments:

Post a Comment