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Displaying items by tag: Flowers
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 15:33

Early Flowers of Spring

On dreary days it's good to know that some flowers are already peeking up from out of the ground. Below are a few of Milwaukee's early bloomers.

Some wildflowers grow modestly, a few delicate blossoms held a few inches off the ground. Then there are bold wildflowers like the Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum).

Waterleaf can’t wait for you to see it. Growing some two-feet tall, the waterleaf puts out showy balls of flowers. If you walk through Riverside Park on the right day in late spring, the whole park will be alive with this bushy wildflower.

If you asked someone to draw a flower, what would it look like? It would probably resemble a daisy, or maybe a tulip, right? What it wouldn’t look like is the strangely fleshy, three-pointed flower of Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense).

In that same drawing, the flower would probably be shown standing proudly erect, basking in the sunlight like the “day’s eye,” which incidentally is the origin of the word daisy. You probably wouldn’t draw a flower hidden under large leaves, slumping messily into the soil.

But wild ginger is not your typical flower. It doesn’t even have petals!

Every spring I get excited about the start of the growing season. You may think that my name being Matt Flower drives this next statement, but really, I treat it as a family reunion. Each week old friends come back to visit — either nesting in the same woods, growing in the same spot, slithering by the same log or fluttering in the same area. One of my favorites friends of spring are the common violets — a small purple flower of the forest, field and lawn. Despite its common appearance and stature, the common violets is a giant among edibles. Packing as much vitamin C as a whole orange and the leaves are one of two wild plants topping the vitamin A charts, this flower makes a great edible.

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