Round-lobed Hepatica

Bhavana and I went for another hike this afternoon in the Somerset County Sourland Mountain Preserve. The hike, a Wildflower Walk, was organised by the Sourland Conservancy Stewards. The hike was led by Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants, LLC. Jared is a naturalist advisor to the Sourland Conservancy’s Sourland Stewards program. We had met Jared's wife Rachel Makow. Rachel led a wild edibles walk through the Rock Mil Preserve two years ago, and we were a part of that.

Kiran and Shaan were supposed to come with us, but Shaan forgot he had a birthday party and bailed. Kiran had the sniffles, which she thinks is from allergies, so she stayed home.

The air was crisp and refreshing, but we soon warmed up as we stumbled along the rock-laden pathways. We traversed the rocky landscape while Jared shared his knowledge of the season’s first wildflower blooms. I don't remember the names of all the flowers Jared showed us, but this one was my favourite. I kept calling the trout lily, a yellow wildflower, the striped salmon. The group laughed every time I got it wrong.

I spotted the round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica Nobilis var. obtusa) while walking, looking down as I moved along. It was one of two poking out from beneath the dry leaf bed. The ornate and mottled leaves are visible year-round. The furry-stemmed flowers arise in the earliest spring; fur on the stems and new leaves protects against April cold fronts. Solitary bees pollinate the hepatica, and forest ants disperse the seeds.

Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)
Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana) · Saturday 25 April 2015 · Nikon D5100 · 90 mm f/2.8

The variegated and mottled leaves are visible year-round. The furry-stemmed flowers arise in the earliest spring; fur on the stems and new leaves protects against April cold fronts. Solitary bees pollinate them, and forest ants disperse seeds.

I rented the same Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD Macro that I used for the vernal pool walk. I lit the flower with my Nikon SB-600 and a Rogue Flashbender.

Do ants disperse them? I never knew that ants were involved in the life cycle of flowers! You can find the entire photo set on my Flickr.

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Every Spring, these beautiful white petals appear on trees in the woods in my neighbourhood. I see them all over Montgomery Township. The white petals covering the sparse green of the trees stand out in contrast to all the fresh green of the other trees in the wood.

On Saturday, I stopped along Salisbury Road and pulled out my camera and tripod. I saw some white behind a thicket and ventured to get those shots. I was a little concerned when my tripod was jammed, and my shirt got snagged by some thorny shrubs. But I pushed through to get to the trees growing on the slope of the bank of the stream.

These trees are dogwood. I'm unsure, but I think this specimen is Cornus florida. It's native to eastern North America. The flower petals are larger than some other dogwood in the area.

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