Mid-Spring in the Sourlands – Hidden blossoms, dazzling critters, and a bounty of ferns

A recent walk in the Sourland Mountains revealed Violet Wood-sorrel (Oxalis violacea) with its clover-like leaves mingling with violets and Virginia Creeper, bright white Dewberry blossoms, large leaf blades of Wild Comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum) topped with delicate sprays of pale blue flowers, and a last glimpse of Showy Orchids (Galearis spectabilis) before they fade for the season, hidden among ferns and fruiting Bellworts (Uvularia sp.) under arching branches of Spicebush.

Brightly colored snipe and robber flies dashed about to catch their meals, making their living by eating other insects.  Meanwhile spiders waited quietly for a snack to come to them.  In contrast to their name, Scorpianflies are so benign that they feed on insects that are already dead, including leftovers from spider webs.

Ferns spectacularly line the trails, many of them invisible a month ago.

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6 thoughts on “Mid-Spring in the Sourlands – Hidden blossoms, dazzling critters, and a bounty of ferns

  1. Love tulip trees. We have a big one in the rear corner of our property. It’s been here longer than most of the people in this neighborhood. Many of the others were down because their “messy”.

    • Tuliptree’s flowers are beautiful! It makes sense when you realize this tree is a member of the Magnolia family. They’re also very nectar rich – bees love them. And Tuliptrees are food plants for the caterpillars of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. So that’s why you see those striking yellow and black striped butterflies flying in the treetops!

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