About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bright Yellow Flowers are One of the First Signs of Spring

Winter Aconite or Eranthis
“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.” W.E. Johns

The first blooming flowers at the end of winter are often the ground-hugging Winter Aconite or Eranthis. They are popular ornamental plants native to southern Europe and east across Asia to Japan.

These yellow perennials are among the first to appear in spring, as early as January in mild winters. These sunny little perennials are frost-tolerant and survive even under snow cover.

Narcissus or daffodils
Another sign of spring that is already visible are the leaf tips of Narcissus or daffodils poking through the ground. The dormancy of daffodil bulbs breaks in the late fall after six weeks in cool, moist soil. Shoots grow slowly in the cold, and freezing temperatures even under inches of snow. In the bulb, low temperatures trigger a conversion of insoluble starches into sugars, which flow throughout the plant, acting as an antifreeze.

They are native to meadows and woods in Europe, North Africa and West Asia, with a center of distribution in the Western Mediterranean and many species and hybrids are used widely in gardens and landscapes around the world.

Roundlobe Hepatica
Native to Michigan and throughout the U.S, another early bloomer in my garden is the Hepatica. This tiny daisy-like flower was named for its leaves. The human liver has three lobes like the leaf of the Hepatica so the name came from the Greek word Hepar which means liver. It was once used as a medicinal herb to treat liver disorders. Today we know large doses of the plant are poisonous, but the leaves and flowers may be used as an astringent effective in stopping the flow of blood of a wound, as a soothing substance for slow-healing injuries, and as a diuretic.

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1 comment:

Joy K. said...

Henbit is our early bloomer here in north-central Texas.