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This Blooming Season

April 30, 2014 at 9:30 am
By Darcy Mishkind '16

Scilla siberica
The nefarious Siberian Squill.

With the coming of spring, a blanket of growth is swiftly covering the Arboretum. First, you may notice the bright blue flowers carpeting large patches of forest floor. In some places they dominate, but they are by no means all there is to see. These blue flowers, delicate and with six-petals, are called Siberian Squill (Scilla Siberica). This plant is, unfortunately, an invasive species native to Russia, the Caucasus, and Turkey, that was introduced to the Arboretum during the initial stages of reclaiming the land, back in the 1930s or ‘40s.

 Trout Lily
The Trout Lily.

Of the plants newly in bloom, many have names that evoke strange images. One such example is the Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides), which sounds like it should be more at home in the ocean than in a forest. In fact, it is a lovely plant, growing close to the ground with pink or white flowers. Another evocative name is held by the Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum). Common to the woods in the arboretum, the leaves of this flower have distinctive, mottled green and brown coloration that do indeed evoke their namesake. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is another striking flower to be on the look for with large, white flowers. It gets its name from its bright red sap. Nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum) are harder to find, but well worth the effort. True to their name, each plant has both three leaves and the flower has three petals. This time of year, there are many new blooms to look out for. This is only a short introduction to all there is to see in the Arboretum!

- Darcy Mishkind  '16, for the Cole Student Naturalists

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