My husbands parents retired to a community in Hot Springs Village Arkansas. While visiting recently I found one of my favorite spring wildflowers growing along a path in the garden.
Claytonia virginica/Spring Beauty
I decided to take a walk along one of the nearby trails to see if I could find more.
Here you can see an open flower and the narrow leaves, some purplish from the still chill nights.Click here for more information
One of our prettiest and earliest-blooming wildflowers—spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)—is also a delicious vegetable. It may be the definitive tater tot. Native to moist woodlands, sunny stream banks, and thickets in eastern North America, this low-growing plant has tiny underground tubers that can be prepared and eaten just like potatoes. Indeed, another common name for the spring beauty is the "fairy spud."Illinois Wildflowers
Various kinds of bees visit the flowers, include honey bees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, Nomadine Cuckoo bees, Miner Halictid bees (including Green Metallic bees), and Andrenid bees. Many flies also visit the including Syrphid flies, the Giant Bee fly (Bombylius major), Carrion flies, Muscid flies, and Anthomyiid flies. Less often, various butterflies and skippers visit the flowers. These insects usually seek nectar; some of the bees also collect pollen. It is possible that the corms, which are edible, are eaten occasionally by voles and other small rodents. They can be eaten by humans as well, but their small size makes this rather impractical.University Of Arkansas Agricultural ExtensionUSDA Plants Profile and distribution mapOzark Edge Wildflowers
The marked walking trails are nice with lots to see even on a late February stroll.
The most exciting find was a hobbit hole. No wooden door to knock at so one must shout "HELLO!" before entering.
No one seemed to be at home this day or else all were sleeping late.
Can you imagine Tolkien strolling along a wood in England and finding just such a dwelling before penning 'The Hobbit'?
Other than Spring Beauties most green flora consisted of ferns and moss.
Some shining in the sunlight.
Isn't this moss covered bank pretty?
And this growing on a decaying fallen branch.
These little mushrooms looked liked something from a story about to set out on a walk along the trail on such a fine day.
Our own garden here in Chicago is still very brown except for the tips of a few bulbs begining to emerge. Todays warm rain should encourage them.