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.