Third week of May. A trip to a higher latitude on the East Coast allowed for some walking in the White Mountains, gorgeous and green with the first wave of spring leaves. A local informed me that the leaves had just emerged within five days of my visit. These woods are distinguished with an embarrassment of riches among the ground plants spanning the unique window of sunny bare forest and shaded leafy forest. This was the perfect moment to see the elusive trillium. After noticing one trillium with a bright white star flower, it was easy to find them just about everywhere with maroon, white, or painted flowers.
Charming mountain streams twined through the woods and tumbled over full round mossy stones forming small waterfalls and cool rippling pools. New ferns swayed over the fresh mossy banks. The water there is crystal clear due to the type of bedrock and soils.
Birds sang bright warbly songs in loud voices, but hidden from sight. A female wild turkey strode swiftly through a stand of evergreens. A local pointed out a moosewood tree striped of its bark, and explained that moose like to gnaw on the bark of that tree. Another sign of moose in the area – moose droppings!
Gorgeous delicate wildflowers basked in the sun. Hobblebush was starting to grow in thickly everywhere with snowy white flowers just opening. Purple violets clustered together by the streams, and tiny white violets scattered around the ground.
The mix of trees on the mountains were leafing out in delicate variety of colors. From across a serene lake the woods on the opposite shore appeared to be as varied in color as a bouquet of flowers. I could only imagine these woods in their rich autumn colors and considered a return trip in the fall.
Trillium undulatum – or painted trillium; according to Michigan Natural Inventory this rare species is known by three showy, white petals with a dark pink, inverted V-shaped mark toward the base of each petal
Viburnum lantanoides – Hobblebush. According to Northern Woodlands online, hobblebush is a sprawling shrub that has beautiful, showy white flowers in spring, succeeds well at growing in deep shade, using several strategies that keep it from having to declare photosynthetic bankruptcy, despite having very little regular solar income. Hobblebush has an early leaf out, sometimes beginning when there is still snow on the ground.
Acer Pennsylvanicum – Moosewood tree. According to Plant Guide online, the Striped Maple, or Moosewood grows from a shrub to a tree 40 feet high, best always in the shade of taller trees and usually in rocky woods that cover mountain slopes. The bark appears striped.
Macloskey’s Violet, Small White Violet