Saturday, March 25, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Mayapple blooms in March

Mayapple blooms in March

It may have been 0 °C in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA, on 19 March 2023, but the native plant restoration was blossoming in the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve.

Podophyllum peltatum is an herbaceous woodland plant in the family Berberidaceae —with common names of mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake, and ground lemon— widespread across most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

The mayapple grows only two leaves and one flower, which appears in the axil of the leaves (where the leaf joins the stem). The stems grow to 30–40 cm (12 in to 16 in) tall; the leaves grow up to eight inches in diameter (20–40 cm) with three to nine deeply cut lobes. The flowers are white, yellow or red, one to two inches in diameter (2–6 cm), with six to nine petals, maturing into a large, fleshy, lemon-shaped berry, one to two inches long (2–5 cm).

All the parts of the plant are poisonous, including the green fruit, but once the fruit has ripened and turned yellow, it can be safely eaten, as the ripe fruit does not produce toxicity.

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is a citizen-run, 28-acre park, located in an urban area between the cities of Decatur and Atlanta, Georgia.

A few years ago, the preserve brought in sheep to eradicate (i.e., eat!) an infestation of invasive plants in the park. Species such as English ivy, Chinese privet, and kudzu were out-competing and ultimately destroying native plants that local pollinators and the native ecosystem depended upon.

As the invaders were vanquished, the natives began to return. Such as the mayapple.

Here's another view: top-down and pre-bloom.

March Mayapple


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Sweet Betsy in bloom!

Little Sweet Betsy in bloom!

Look down! There, on the forest floor! It's a native wildflower, a "Little Sweet Betsy" trillium, blooming in late winter. Notice the yellow specks of pollen. Spring is coming.

Seen on 9 March 2023, in the Glenn Creek Nature Preserve: a small community-maintained city park in Decatur, Georgia, USA.
Trillium cuneatum —commonly known as the little sweet betsy— is a species of flowering trillium, native to the southeastern United States. The plant has three broad, mottled leaves surrounding a banana-scented, sessile [blossom lacking a stalk] flower. The petals are erect and either maroon, bronze, green, or yellow in color, flowering from early March to late April. It is the largest of the eastern sessile-flowered trilliums.

The preserve appears to be a haven for these native wildflowers. Here's another Little Sweet Betsy trillium, but snapped head-on.

Sweet Betsy in bloom! (02)

Trillium —also known as wake-robin, toadshade, tri-flower, birthroot, birthwort, or, sometimes, 'wood lily'— is a genus of about fifty flowering plant species in the Melanthiaceae family [also called the bunchflower family]. Trillium species are native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, with the greatest diversity of species found in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States.


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Sylvan grotto

Sylvan grotto

Not really a grotto, but, in cold winter, the sylvan feel of the creek and its surroundings exuded Arcadian seclusion.

Crooked Creek flowing from Mountain Lake, in Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, near Stonecrest, Georgia, USA, on 26 January 2023.

We tarried awhile.


Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto, 1st movement: a guilty pleasure, perhaps, but nonetheless suggesting a musical 'feel' of the scene.


Saturday, March 04, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Nature contemplation

Nature contemplation
The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

On a spring-like winter's afternoon, a gentleman was sitting still on the banks of Glenn Creek, seemingly contemplating its simple beauty.

Glenlake Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 20 February 2023.