Photo Friday: Wildflowers at Riverbend Park
On this beautiful spring morning, and in honor of National Wildflower Week, I wanted to share some photos from a hike with my family at Riverbend Park. If you haven’t been, I definitely recommend taking a trip, especially when everything is blooming! The delicate new growth that pops up to signal the start of spring is my favorite reward for enduring a long winter. The world becomes a wildflower wonderland!
For me, wildflowers were a big part of my childhood. I have fond memories of sitting in a giant field of buttercups with our family Border Collie, Ashley, sticking endless blooms under my chin to determine whether or not I truly liked butter. (In case you were wondering, I do.)
Growing up, we visited Riverbend to see the Bluebells almost every year, and I’m so glad that the tradition has lived on!
Lady Bird Johnson, the national champion for wildflowers, once said that wildflowers “give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours.” That sense of place is just one of the reasons that native wildflowers are so important. They also play an important role in their native ecosystem.
These little guys are aptly named Spring Beauties, or Claytonia virginica. As with almost everything in the park, they are native to Virginia. This means that they are better adapted to local growing conditions, and therefore are heartier and more tolerant to pests and diseases. Native species of plants are incredibly important for supporting healthy wildlife populations, as many species depend on certain native flora for food or habitat. They also prevent soil erosion. Wildflowers help people, too – they can increase agricultural crop yields when planted near fields, as they attract pollinators to the crops!
Virginia Bluebells, or Mertensia virginica, are one of my dad’s favorites, and you can see why: they’re just so delicate and lovely!
They start out as these tiny little blossoms…
The buds are pinkish to start, and then they open up into the blue trumpet-shaped blooms. Just gorgeous!
During the hike, we were fascinated by these funny looking white blooms – resembling horns, or a Pope’s hat. We had no idea what they were called. Turns out, the name is better than we could have imagined: Dutchman’s Breeches! (Or Dicentra cucullaria for all you fun-suckers who want to know the real names for stuff. Just kidding. Scientific names are important.) But seriously, even the Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center’s OFFICIAL description calls these “pantaloon-shaped!” I love it.
Although they look pretty similar, I’m pretty sure these heart-shaped flowers are Dicentra canadensis. Their name is almost as awesome as Dutchman’s Breeches. These are called Squirrel Corn!
I love how these pure white blossoms are poking their way out of the remnants of the fall leaves. They’re called Sanguinaria canadensis, or Bloodroot. The name seems totally random until you find out that the underground stems have a red juice that was used by Native Americans for dying baskets, clothing and war paint. If you know Latin, you know that the scientific name, Sanguinaria, is from the Latin sanguinarius, which means bleeding.
Spring is here!!
Here’s Sami, the sweet pup we were petsitting at the time.
A boy and his (temporary) dog. 🙂
I just love the look of these silvery fiddleheads. This is Polystichum acrostichoides, or Christmas fern, so named because it lasts through the holiday season!
Here is Zach making his crazy/evil face, to match the Game of Thrones crown…
Happy National Wildflower Week!
“Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” — Lady Bird Johnson