Wildflowers on the RailTrail

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More Spring Flowers!

10 May

Jeanne Henderson at Chippewa Nature Center led a Spring Wildflower walk on Wednesday.  It was overcast and trying to rain, but we still saw spring wildflowers.

There was an abundance of Spring Beauties and Dutchmen’s Breeches.  We saw the leaves and seed heads of the Bloodroot that finished blooming the day before.  There were still trout lilies (both yellow and white) blooming, but many had already dropped their petals and made the seed pod.  Mayapples are getting quite tall and you can see the flower bud in the cleft between the two leaves.  There was also a lot of Cutleaf Toothwort and False Rue Anemone.  There were leaves of flowers to come–so lots to revisit CNC for.

One of the questions that came up was the difference between Rue Anemone, False Rue Anemone and Wood Anemone.  They are so similar they can be easily confused.  So here is my explanation:

Rue Anemone has the smallest leaves and they are in alternate leaflets along the single stalk.  The leaflets are petite and very rounded and gently 3-lobed, usually only two sets below the flowers.  Each stalk can have many flowers on longish stalks.  The plants are petite only 4-8 inches tall.  Flowers can have from 5-10 petal-like sepals with numerous stamen and pistils and are about 1 inch across.

False Rue Anemone have 9 3-leaflet leaves in whirls of 3 with multiple stalks on a single plant.  The leaflets are deeply lobed and rounded.  The flowers rise in clusters at end of stems or on stalks above leaf axils.  Each flower is about 1/2 in wide and has 5 petal-like sepals with numerous pistils and stamen.  The plants are more robust (many leaves and many plants together) and are 4-16 inches tall.

Wood Anemone have a whirl of three compound leaves with 3-5 sharply toothed leaflets each.  They are palmately divided, deeply cut and more pointed and longer than either Rue Anemone or False Rue Anemone.  Each plant has one flower about 1 inch wide with 4-9 white to pink petal-like sepals and numerous pistils and stamen.  The plant is 4-8 inches tall and colonizes readily, so is often seen in groups.

All bloom in early to late spring along with lots of other white to pink many petaled flowers, like spring beauty, hepatica, bloodroot, and toothwort.

Here are examples of the three plants in flower.

False Rue Anemone  falserueanemone

Rue Anemone            rueanemone

Wood Anemone       woodanemone

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