Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spicebush in Bloom

On this nice spring weekend we made a quick trip to my parents place --Winterberry Farm--in western Massachusetts. It is there and at this time of year that I search out the spicebush. The woodland path behind their house meanders along a small drainage dotted with skunk cabbage, through patches of cinnamon fern, and alongside scattered spicebush bushes. Fern fiddleheads were just emerging, while the spicebush were in full bloom. I peeled off a small twig to inhale the aroma of spice and spring.

Cinnamon fern fiddleheads emerging from the forest floor.
Skunk cabbage dot the small drainage
along the woodland path at Winterberry Farm.
Lemon yellow spicebush flowers stand out
in the still mostly bare hardwood understory.
The spicebush seem to be blooming on time, but everything else looked slow in emerging. The red maples were just beginning to put on a spring show, against the backdrop of Long Mountain.
Here is a another view of Long Mountain from atop Rattlesnake Knob, one of our favorite spring jaunts. The woodlands look bare, but down below things are happening.
We stepped over a sunbathing garter snake.
Downy rattlesnake plantain leaves poked through the leaf layer.
Early saxifrage, a small plant of dry woods and rocky plants,
was in full bloom along the steep trail to the top of Rattlesnake Knob.
And beech buds were long and slender--some nearly two inches long.
Spring is arriving in fits and starts, and a cold wind seems to be the norm this year. But if you look high and low, you will find signs of spring and capture the excitement of emergence and re-birth all around us.

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