Here is another example of a really cool little wildflower that grows at Clifty Falls State Park, and it is Squirrel Corn, very unique structure in this little gem and it makes for some really great photography.
According to the Kentucky Native Plant Association..
The foliage of this early spring wildflower is easily mistaken with the foliage of its close cousin, Dutchman’s Breeches (D. cucullaria). The easiest way to tell the plants apart is via the flowers, but the leaves of squirrel corn are typically shorter and there is one compound leaf per flowering stem compared to Dutchman’s breeches which has longer leaves and there are typically two leaves per flowering stem. In addition, squirrel corn leaves have a tendency to have a more “open” appearance. Like many members of the fumitory family, these plants are highly toxic and make for good garden plants because mammals, even deer, do not like to graze on them. The leaves appear early in the growing season and completely disappear by mid-May but they can form dense colonies when established in the garden. The plants are typically about 6″ tall and squirrel corn gets its common name from the underground food storage structures that look like corn kernels. The flowers are quite distinctive and look like small hearts and the plant is named Dicentra which refers to the two spurs on the flowers and canadensis means from Canada.
This plant is easy to grow in the garden and it is one of those species that must be inter-planted with ferns or later blooming species because it is so ephemeral in nature. Squirrel corn had great significance as a Love Charm to the Mennominee Indians and a young man would throw the flowers to his intended love or chew the roots which gave a perfumed smell in the face of the woman causing her to follow him from that time forward. The Onondaga called this plant the “Ghost corn” believing it was “food for the spirits.” Like trilliums, the seed of this group is dispersed by ants because the seeds contain a fatty substance called elaisome, which is highly relished by ants. At the nest the elaisomes are eaten and the seeds are left to germinate. The plants are primarily pollinated by bumblebees. Historically the plant was used as a tonic and for use in treating syphilis.
So there is really good description of the wildflower and now for a couple of images. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!
Here are some more recent images I was able to capture on trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These shots are all 0f Trillium which seemed to have had a banner year in the Park, I have never seen so many in bloom as I did this year.
There are many varieties of Trillium that grow in the park but I was only able to capture a few of the species on this recent trip, the two kinds of Trillium here are the Large flowering and Catesby’s Trillium.
I photographed the Large Flowering Trillium on the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail and the Catesby’s Trillium was photographed on the trail going into White Oak Sinks. White Oak Sinks is another great trail for viewing and photographing wildflowers in the park.
It was a great trip and I am happy to be able to share some of my experiences and photography with you, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!
Here is my last post on Spring Wildflowers shot at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana. I photographed many more images from this spring but just so I can get caught on my Smoky Mountain wildflowers and my summer wildflowers from Southern Indiana I think it’s time to move on to other subjects.
I will start with the Wild Columbine and then the Yellow Violet and finally my favorite Blue-Eyed Mary.
I love the vast array of color that the flowers bloom in during the spring season it is always a great time to be able to get out and photograph after a long cold winter. Hopefully you enjoyed these and I can’t wait till next spring to get out and add more to my portfolio.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day !!
Here is another example of one of the many beautiful wildflowers I was able to photograph in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park earlier this spring. This is another Trillium that blooms so prolifically in the Park, Catesby’s Trillium to be exact, according to The US Forest Service…
Catesby’s Trillium (Trillium catesbaei)
By Mark Pistrang
Based upon recent genetic research trillium species now belong to the family Trilliaceae. Historically trilliums have been placed in the lily family, Liliaceae. Trilliums are rhizomatous herbs with unbranched stems. Trillium plants produce no true leaves or stems above ground. The “stem” is actually just an extension of the horizontal rhizome and produces small, scale-like leaves called cataphylls. These highly modified leaves surround the flowering scape (the above ground plant) as it pushes up through soil in early spring. The leaf-like structures are technically bracts subtending the flower. Despite their morphological origins, the bracts have external and internal structure similar to that of a leaf, function in photosynthesis, and most authors refer to them as leaves.
Trilliums are divided into two major groups: The pedicellate and sessile trilliums. In the pedicellate trilliums, the flower sits upon a pedicel (stalk) that extends from the whorl of bracts. These trillium flowers are either “erect,” above the bracts, or “nodding,” recurved under the bracts. In the sessile trilliums, there is no pedicel and the flower appears to arise directly from the bracts.
Catesby’s trillium falls within the pedicellate group. This beautiful spring wildflower’s flower is on a recurved pedicel that curls back under the leaves often obscuring it from view. Flowers are typically seen from late March through June. It is distinguished by its nodding white, pink, or rose colored flowers with egg-yolk yellow anthers and its widely spaced leaves that are rolled inwardly along the length of the leaf. This unusual leaf morphology allows the flower to be more readily observed. Catesby’s trillium tends to occur in drier habitats and is typically found on acid soils, in open dry or rich mesic woods, within laurel and rhododendron thickets. Catesby’s trillium is found in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
And here is the photo…I am just too lazy tonight to try and explain all the scientific stuff lol.