Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Signs of Spring

Was it silly to go looking for spring flowers on February 25th? You be the judge...

The Oregon grape (Mahonia repens) is showing fall color in its leaves (thanks to sun exposure), but look at those yellow buds! They're thinking about spring... This one, on a warm south-facing bank next to the trail, is well ahead of its greener brethren half-buried in dead leaves under the Gambel's oaks. (As always, click to enlarge.)

But there, among those dead oak leaves, a few spring beauties (Claytonia lanceolata) are also thinking about getting going. Unlike the Oregon grape, which is visible while standing, you really have to hunt for these guys-- about an inch tall now, but with little pink buds tucked up under, just waiting to unfurl.

As you can see, the snow has not been off them long. More is due tomorrow...

A closer look at those buds... These little wonders have to make an early start, and plan to run through their entire season before the oak leaves appropriate all the sunshine.

So, yes, there are signs of spring, if you only know where to look!

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