Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Following the Sun

Trout Lily, also called Adder's Tongue,
Dogtooth Violet, Yellow Adder's Tongue
(Erythronium americanum)
The leaves are popping up everywhere on the forest floor this week, and they're rather fetching in their mottled burgundy and vibrant green, but I was surprised to find the first bloom of the season in a sunny nook a few days ago.

This shy woodland member of the lily family is a small miracle blooming in its own sweet time - it takes about seven years for a plant to take root, mature and produce a perfect golden flower with six bright burgundy stamens.  The single bloom opens at dawn and follows the sun all around the sky in the course of a day, folding inward when the sun goes down. At noon, the perianth (outermost parts) opens up completely and curves backward as elegantly as a Turkish cap.

The lily loves the companionship of its kin, spreading from the offshoots of a single corm to form vast colonies in which the leaf patterns are almost identical.  They grow best in a deciduous woodland setting where they receive filtered light in springtime, and they prefer humus rich soil. Its presence in vast numbers among the trees of the Two Hundred Acre Wood is a sure sign that our favorite part of the world is a fertile sylvan environment.


Claire said...

what a treasure you've unearthed! gorgeous photos :)

Guy said...

Hi Cate

What lovely pictures and a very informative post. Looks like spring out your way.


the wild magnolia said...

speckled leaves, and tiny Dogtooth Violet, and Yellow Tongue...Kin....ahhhhh

Cindy said...

Everything turns towards the light, the inescapable truth is that we are all naturally tuned to turn our faces to the light, to reach for the light, to stretch and grow and unfurl our limbs. We are so loved...