In bloom in Shakerag Hollow: Erigenia bulbosa, also known as “harbinger-of-spring.” The plant’s warm optimism will be greeted by temperatures in the teens tomorrow. Still, this solitary bloom emerging from a sea of dead leaves is a good sign that life is a-stir in the botanical world.
What triggers that? Length of day?
I think so, but they pop up after a few days of warmth so temperature must play a short-term role, perhaps.
With this and the peepers, spring is not far off.
The pure white of the pollen contrasted against the pale maroon stamen is very beautiful through a hand lens. The name is ripe with connections to Greek mythology (Eregeneia, Eos, Aurora, Goddess of Dawn). Michaux saw it on his way from Nashville to Knoxville on March 3, 1796, well before he described the species in 1803. Since it had no name, in his notes of the trip he called it “le petit ombellifere bulbeux”.
Much more can be learned from this excellent article.
Buddell II, G. F. and J. W. Thieret. 1985. Notes on Erigenia bulbosa (Apiaceae). Bartonia 51:69–76. (http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/36334530)
Wonderful links — thank you. Good observations on pollination in the Buddell paper. No doubt many insects benefit from this early nectar. Michaux’s dairy is a treasure-trove of phenological info. Great to get a glimpse into the 1790s.
Good to see some sign of botanical life anywhere in the East as we continue to endure ice and snow up to our elbows here in Maine (+3 degrees here this morning in Brunswick, ME).
Thanks for the spot of hope provided by the photo.
I’ve had your book on my wish list for too long, Just bought it this week and am beginning to read. I live on the edge of a California redwood grove, but have never looked into it with as much wonderful curiosity and detail as you describe.
Thank you, Tom! I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the book. Your redwoods sound wonderful.