Begone umbral winter

The spring equinox has passed, so light has the upper hand now. Darkness creeps away.

The plants in Shakerag Hollow know this and are starting to crack out of their winter shells.

Bloodroot. Waiting, waiting for bees.

Bloodroot. Waiting, waiting for bees.

Spicebush: female flower. These will turn to the bright red drupes so loved by migrant birds. Fast food for autumnal  avian wanderers starts right here.

Spicebush: female flower. These flowers will turn into the bright red drupes so loved by migrant birds. Fast food for autumnal avian wanderers starts right here.

Spicebush: male flower. This species is dioeceous, meaning that each plant is either male or female with, no doubt, a few exceptions.

Spicebush: male flower. Spicebush is dioecious, meaning that each plant is either male or female with, no doubt, a few individuals that break the rules.

Above, the robber baron trees are constrained by their size to delay leafing out. In the delay, a herbaceous and shrubby party below.

Above, the robber baron trees are constrained by their size and must delay leafing out until hard freezes are over. They keep Lent, it seems. The pagans below the canopy live under a different set of rules and hold a weeks-long herbaceous party.

17 thoughts on “Begone umbral winter

  1. garryc

    Your postings are a joy!

    Grace & Peace, ~gC

    >________________________________ > From: Ramble >To: garry@garrycollins.com >Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:56 AM >Subject: [New post] Begone umbral winter > > > > WordPress.com >David George Haskell posted: “The spring equinox has passed, so light has the upper hand now. Darkness creeps away. The plants in Shakerag Hollow know this and are starting to crack out of their winter shells. ” >

    Reply
  2. David Bird

    How are the different patterns of springtime exuberance caused by plant size? Do you mean, the trees will necessarily invest relatively more than those in their thrall, and therefore put themselves more at risk, so that they can’t take that chance? Or that the risk of frost damage is greater for those with their heads in the clouds and their faces in the wind, independently of relative investment? «or that those up there are in no hurry? Or do you mean something that I can’t imagine?

    Reply
    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Good question. I get into the details in The Forest Unseen, but basically, those tall, exposed trunks are vulnerable to embolism (air pockets) caused by ice formation in the trees’ xylem. Ground-hugging plants are in a different microclimate and they have the advantage of very short stems.

      Reply
  3. Alli Antar

    Oh, I do so miss the spring wildflowers of Shakerag Hollow. Thank you so much for posting these photos. Would absolutely LOVE to see photos of the multitudes of trilliums (white, pink, and deepest red) that will soon carpet the forest floor there, this year….

    Reply
      1. Alli Antar

        I was just remembering them today, and then happened to see this post. Enjoyed the trillium photos from Bluebell Island that you posted today. Yes, the wildflowers around here are really spectacular, too. Can’t wait for them to start showing….

        Reply

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