Thursday, April 8, 2010


The sun is back out and I traipsed around for a short while to see what was happening:
  • Grebes are here, tiny ducks on the lake looking strikingly different from the typical mallard.
  • Northern Sea oats are growing (actually I noticed this a few days ago).
  • Bellwort has sprouted and is about 2 inches tall.
  • Also genitan has sprouted and is about 3 inches tall.
  • Some thing I thought were done for are popping up... I got a Dutchman's breeches, and a new mayapple, over a week after the others were already umbrella-ing, even though their conditions are the same. Hmm.
Also... a wild ginger flower.
I am quite taken with these flowers. We focus all our attention on the showy flowers. This week, with my students, we are learning about pollination and we focus on the idea that brightly colored petals attract pollinating insects, which often see them differently than us due to their eyes. The petals are the insect version of the Golden Arches or the neon "Eat at Joe's" sign. But not all flowers are using brightly colored flowers to attract their pollinators. Some, of course, are pollinated by wind -- these tend to be green... why waste pigment on something that can't see? They also tend to be long and hangy. Some flowers smell nasty to attract insects that might normally go for rotting flesh. These have the same demographic of pollinator. Flesh-colored flowers right along the ground where something creepy-crawling could happen right into them. But they're really quite striking... deep brown-red, fuzzy all over, with three twisty triangle petals like a jester's cap. They have white insides that make it seem as though a bug is "heading toward the bright light." A treat for the lucky folks that bother to look in the leaf litter for flowers instead of waiting for the bright colors to hit you in the head!

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