keep your coat on…but Spring is here!
March 16, 2011
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On a cold early March afternoon, I was on a walk with my coworker in one of the forest plots that we will be working on later in the season. We were in the Hopewell Mounds unit of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (see map below). The northwest section of this unit is covered by a developing hardwood mesic forest (mesic refers to the fact that the soil has moderate amounts of moisture and nutrients). The night before had been cold and clear, dropping the temperature well below freezing. Even as that afternoon progressed, it was still only in the lower 40s.
As we scanned the forest floor, I happened to stop something that immediately took my mind off of the harsh winter we had just had: a harbinger of spring (Erigenia bulbosa). Dozens of them were poking out of the flattened leaf litter.
It is amazing how these early wildflowers can poke through so much ice and cold and exhale their breath of spring.