A poppy bloom to celebrate the day


A Celandine Poppy was blooming in Shakerag Hollow this morning. I was delighted and surprised. Delighted because these are the forest’s most gorgeous flowers; surprised because the plant’s timing is unusual. Most of the plants of this species bloom in March or April, before the trees leaf out, before the summer’s heat.

Celandine poppies can self-fertilize, so the absence of other flowers will not prevent this individual from setting seed. This is a good thing for the future of wildflowers. In a changing world, the natural variation present in all populations allows species to adapt and change. So creatures who “deviate” from the norm give species new genetic pathways to the future. The unexpected sight of this flower is therefore both a sensory delight and a reminder of life’s beautiful variability and adaptability.

14 thoughts on “A poppy bloom to celebrate the day

    1. jimannh

      OK – goofy question award above, but what I was wondering was does a species’ ability to self-pollinate preclude any need for insects for the old anther-to-carpel pollen shift?

      1. David George Haskell Post author

        I do not know the details for this species, but in general the plants invest in out-crossing first then self if needed. One way is protandry (anthers mature first); the other is protogyny (stigma matures first). Most of the poppies (Papaveraceae) are protogynous. In this case, if the stigma is not cross-fertilized it stays receptive as the anthers mature and thereby self-pollinates.

        If any readers if more botanical knowledge can help, please chime in!

  1. Kathryn Marsh

    I can see why it got the name of Celandine poppy – it looks so like its European cousin the greater celandine. Which coincidentally does flower this time of year – indeed it is flowering at this moment in my Irish garden, along with another distant but similar looking relative, meconopsis cambrica. Thank you for a lovely image

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Thank you! The European celandine is also present in the US. The leaves are quite similar, although the fruits (and to a lesser extent, the flowers) are quite different. Beautiful!

  2. Larry Brasher

    Gorgeous flower! The first day I met my wife was in New Jersey in August. There were naturalized European celandine poppies blooming in the edge of an old limestone foundation. She knew what they were and asked me if I did. I did. She was pleased, and later we both said I do.
    Larry Brasher

  3. mowque

    I suppose this means a few bloom ‘early’ every year, like this one bloomed late. That may help them in a world of warming summers and mild winters. Nature, as usual, is ready.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      yes, there must be a few early ones too. Hopefully a few that resist the urge to go too early, avoiding the late frosts that slam in after some warm springs. An odd new arrangement.

  4. Karen Pick

    Heartwarming to see a photo, not only of the flower, but also of the bee! Here in central Québec, where we’ve had two sunny days in two months, I’ve seen but a handful this year. As we speak, the wind is literally ripping the leaves off my (late to sprout because it’s been so cold) beans. Weather is becoming so damn extreme! I want to believe that “in a changing world, the natural variation present in all populations allows species to adapt and change…” and will try to remember these words next time I put on a hat and gloves to go out in late June, next time I fret over the total absence of any pollinators in a huge stand of borage, next time my elm tree is whipped around like a dish mop for more than 24 hours. I’ll try to remember that we (meaning more than humans) will make our way through this, and hope that we will not be too utterly diminished. I’m sorry; I’m scared. I will try to remember the power of a flower unexpectedly blooming in a distant forest, and take courage. Thank you, David, for that reminder.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      I’m sorry to hear that the wind and cold are persisting in their attentions. A world without pollinators and with peculiar weather variants is indeed a scary place. Nature’s resilience and adaptability (including our own) is impressive. Although that gives hope, it is not a heal-all salve for the very real damage that is unfolding.

  5. Bruce Huber

    David: I don’t know how else to get you this information. This relates to the concept of forest breathing from Japan. I don’t intend to clutter up your site.
    Mark Ellison

    Jun 26 (3 days ago)

    to hikingresearch

    Thank you for contacting me about the North American chapter of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine. Based on the number of people contacting me there is tremendous interest in the organization!

    The initial meeting of INFOM in North America was held in Traverse City, Michigan in May with Qing Li and I facilitating the discussion (with several people on this distribution list in attendance!). Qing and I just completed the meeting minutes, and once the minutes of the meeting have been approved by the INFOM Board, I will share them with you. This will include information on how to join and the associated membership fee which will be $60. An article summarizing the meeting is available at http://hikingresearch.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/four-days-exploring-the-cutting-edge-of-forest-and-nature-research/

    It is now time to identify a leadership group for this chapter that can provide direction related to the types of things we would like to do. What do we want to accomplish? How can we facilitate networking among members? Do we want to have a meeting/conference? Should this be in conjunction with a larger conference? Should we have webinars?

    If you are interested in devoting some time and effort to helping get this off the ground please email me. If you have skills or interests that may be applicable to these efforts (eg, website development, webinar presentations, etc) let me know. I would like to have an initial conference call in July/August.

    I look forward to working with you to make the North American chapter a thriving organization.


    Mark Ellison, Ed.D.

    Founder, HikingResearch.com

    INFOM Board Member

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Hi Mark,

      This sounds like a great program. Holli Richey, Yong Oh, and Jean Lomin recently ran a Forest Bathing retreat at the Chattaooga Nature Center and Arboretum. They might be interested to learn about your work.
      (their program is outlined here: http://hollirichey.com/2013/05/16/forest-bathing-retreat-toe-first-then-full-immersion-june-21-22/)

      At present I am massively over-committed so regrettably cannot help in any official capacity. I can put word out on my social media accounts if that would help (my email for further correspondence about this is dhaskell@sewanee.edu).

      Many thanks, David


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s