Spring Ephemerals

Today felt like spring in Chicago, which is just another strange weather day to add to the pile, this “winter” season. So in honor of the inappropriately spring-y day, I am posting these photos of these ravine wildflowers I visited last April with my mentor Dr. Kathryn Dohrmann. These photos and a story written by Dr. Dohrmann were first posted in Gazebo News and here is a direct link to that story and the reader comments.  Our journey was centered on documenting the fleeting occurrence of wildflowers in this particular ravine “finger” in the Witchhazel/Seminary Ravine system. But the most pressing reason that we descended into the ravine that day in order to fight the possibility that that ravine finger would be filled in, as is currently being threatened by the city. In that article, Dr. Dohrmann put the poetry of the day into context brilliantly:

“Spring ephemerals being what they are, the wildflowers of the finger ravine will soon be retreating underground. If we are fortunate, we will see them next year, in another spring, after a time long to us, but—given their age—perhaps brief to them. Their presence is a marker: a sign of a high-quality and relatively untouched habitat. It is also a reminder: a remnant, a trace, a vestige of a truly native, increasingly rare, and—some might say—sacred landscape. These spring ephemerals and their ravine home are, in the deepest sense, a living memory.”

Yellow Trout Lily/Adder’s Tongue/Fawn Lily
Erythronium americanum

White Trout Lily/White Adder’s Tongue/White Fawn Lily
Erythronium albidum

Bellwort / Large-Flowered Bellwort
Uvularia grandiflora

Prairie Trillium/Bloody Butcher
Trillium recurvatum

White Trillium/Great White Trillium/White Wake-Robin/Trille Blanc
Trillium grandiflorum

May Apple/American Mandrake/Raccoon Berry/Indian Apple
Podophyllum peltatum

Early Meadow-rue/Quicksilver-weed
Thalictrum dioicum

White Shooting Star
Dodecatheon sp.

And this final photo (below) should give you some perspective on the scale of these beauties. They are tiny individuals but en masse they blanket the slopes.


2 thoughts on “Spring Ephemerals

  1. Pingback: One Flower and a Bee *

  2. Pingback: Adder’s Tongue | Find Me A Cure

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