Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Clifty Falls Toadshade (Trillium)”

Now how is that a name for a wildflower “Toadshade”….According to Wikipedia..

Trillium sessile (Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin) is a perennial spring wildflower native to the central part of the eastern United States and the Ozarks. It is a small trillium (rarely over 9 cm tall). Toadshade can be distinguished from other trilliums by its single foul smelling, stalkless, flower nestled in the middle of its three leaves. The three maroon petals, maintain a “closed” posture throughout its presence, the petals are occasionally pale green. The leaves are sometimes, but not always mottled with shades of light and dark green. Its species name comes from the Latin word sessilis which means low sitting, and refers to its stalkless flower.

T. sessile is most common in rich moist woods but also can be found in rich forests, limestone woods, flood plains, along fence rows. It is persistent under light pasturing.[2] The foul smelling flowers attract its primary pollinators, flies and beetles.[3] The flowers are present from April-June. This plant is clump forming from a thick rhizome. The above ground parts of the plant die back by mid-summer, but may persist longer in areas that do not completely dry out.

Toadshade is listed as state threatened in Michigan and state endangered in New York; both states are on the northern edge of its range.[4]

I shot these cool little wildflowers at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana,I really liked how the late evening light bathed these other wise flat and ordinary flower with golden light, even these hardy wildflowers took a serious hit by the cold wet spring e have experienced here in Southern Indiana.  At last I was able to get this shot before they got frozen out, th same can’t be said for the other spcies of flowers but this one turn out alright.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, as always click on image for best view !!


“Spring Beauties”

Well it looks like the spring wildflower season is coming to a close and even though I did get a few nice images all in all this season has been one of the worst I have ever experienced. From the early season hard freezes with snow to the last couple weeks of severe weather with high winds as an almost daily occurrence it just hasn’t been a  stellar spring !!

I may try to get out tomorrow but after that it doesn’t look like anything else but Wild Columbines is left to bloom, and with this wind it would be almost impossible to get any shots of them at all, hopefully the weather will warm and maybe I can start shooting some of the early summer wildflowers that also grow in a great abundance in the Madison Indiana area.

But I still have a few images to share and today’s subject is Spring Beauty, according to Wikipedia

Claytonia virginica, the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy-spuds, is a flowering plant in the family Portulacaceae, native to eastern North America. It is found in moist woods and clearings. It is a trailing plant growing to 5-40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3-14 cm long and 5-13 mm broad, with a 6-20 cm long petiole. The flowers are 7-14 mm diameter, with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals, flowering is between March and May. Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).

I shot this beautiful little flower at Clifty Falls State Park in Southern Indiana, they were one flower along with the Violets that seemed to have thrived in the cold wet spring that we experienced this year, it always seems when one species struggles during the spring another one takes its spot for a great bloom…it just figures these were two flowers I wasn’t that crazy about !!

Well thanks for stopping by and taking a look , sorry I couldn’t share the real beauty of the spring bloom this year but with nature you just never know what is going to happen, for best view click on the image !!


“Dutchman’s Breeches”

Here is another image form my recent hikes to shoot wildflowers, this little jewel is called Dutchman’s Breeches, according to Wikipedia

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches) is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to rich woods of eastern North America, with a disjunct population in the Columbia River Basin.[1]

The common name Dutchman’s breeches derives from their white flowers that look like white breeches

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches)

Height is 15-40 cm. Root is a cluster of small pink to white teardrop-shaped bulblets. Leaves are 10-36 cm long and 4-18 cm broad, with a petiole up to 15 cm long; they are trifoliate, with finely divided leaflets.

Flowers are white, 1-2 cm long, and are born in spring on flower stalks 12-25 cm long.

Dutchman’s breeches is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.

The western populations have sometimes been separated as Dicentra occidentalis on the basis of often somewhat coarser growth, but do not differ from many eastern plants in the Appalachians.

I usually try to show the green foliage with this wildflower but on this image I went with an abstract extreme closeup, I purposely kept the nearest bloom in focus and then on the rest of the blooms I tried blurring each bloom as they faded away. It was just something a little different to keep my images form getting stale.

I shot this image at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana, I hope you enjoy the image and as usual click image for larger view, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!


“Thunderstorm Wildflowers”

BOOM…followed by an even louder thunderclap roused me  from my warm conformable environment, sheets of wind and rain followed,  I was now smack dab in the middle  of a Southern Indiana thunderstorm !!   But the only problem was I wasn’t home in my warm comfortable bed or on my couch but I was stuck underneath a rock outcropping in one of the deep canyons that make up Clifty Falls Sate Park.

For being stuck outside durng a heavy thunderstorm my shelter was actually a pretty comfortable place to be, I could sit and watch the storm unfold before my eyes and experience the whole ordeal from the relatively dry ground underneath the rock ledge !!  The cool thing about the whole ordeal was there happened to be a big male turkey very close to my location that would gobble after every thunder clap which made the situation that much more enjoyable.

Now you might be wondering what I was doing to get myself in such a predicament, well photographing wildflowers is the answer to that question, finally after what seemed like an eternity of winter weather I was able to get out Saturday morning to shoot some wildflowers.  And as you can tell by now I no sooner got into Clifty Falls State Park then all hell broke loose, I had just hiked down into one of the gorges when the storm snuck up on me and left me nowhere to go but under this fortuitously located rock outcropping.

After a long stretch of wind and rain I was finally able to venture out into the woods to photograph the native wildflowers that make their home in the Park.  The spring season has pretty much been a bust so far but things were definitely turning around this morning, all around flowers were sharing their beautifully colored blooms for the world to witness, and it seems I had finally been in the right place at the right time.

There were many specimens to shoot and not enough time to get them all in, but I can tell you I tried real hard to shoot them all, I will post  many of them later but the ones I spent  most of this morning on were the Virginia Bluebells, according to Wikipedia

The Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica; also Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort Oysterleaf, Roanoke Bells) is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers opening from pink buds, native to moist woodland in eastern North America.

Leaves are rounded and gray-green, borne on a stem up to 60 cm (2 ft) high. They are petiolate at the bottom of the flower stem and sessile at the top.

Flowers with five petals fused into a tube, five stamens, and a central pistil (carpel) are borne in mid-spring in nodding cymes at the end of arched stems. Buds are pink-tinged, changing to sky-blue as they open. White flowers occur rarely.

Stamen and pistil are spaced too far apart for self-fertilization. The flower can be pollinated by bumblebees, but due to its funnel shape, bumblebees must hover, making the bumblebee a rare pollinator. Butterflies are the most common pollinators, because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar.In early summer, each fertilized flower produces four seeds within wrinkled nuts, and the plant goes dormant till the next spring

These are some of the most colorful blooms in the spring forest and one of my favorites to shoot, the hills that surround Madison Indiana are covered in these in good years and they make for quite a spectacular show when in full bloom !!

This image was shot just as the sun penetrated the clouds after the morning thunderstorms, I loved the water droplets and how they interacted with the morning light, it was just one of the many images I shot that morning and hopefully I will be able to get more the next few days. This is the peak time to be in the woods so if you get a chance try to get out for a hike at Clifty or anywhere else wildflowers grow…just make sure you check the weather report before you go !!

Thanks for stopping by and click on the image for best viewing !!