Monday, May 23, 2011

Into the Woods with Wild Hyacinth

Just off the path...

Walks in the woods are one of my most favorite things. You just never know what you find.  I've started volunteering in the Plant Clinc at The Morton Arboretum, so it gives me an excuse to head out after my shift and do a little wandering.  Yesterday, I followed the suggestion of a couple of hikers that had stopped in to the office to identify some wildflowers. 

Spikes of blue!

Turns out they were wild hyacinth or Camassia scilloides and in such profusion! We sell cultivars of this bulb at the garden center and it's planted in a few of the gardens.  However, nothing beats nature in all its splendor! This wildflower likes moist places, either sunny or in open woodlands.  It's a sign of a mature ecosystem and can be found almost any state on this side of the Rockies. According to my wildflower book, both Native Americans and early settlers ate the bulbs. I wonder what they taste like?


Wild geranium


The midspring wildflowers are up and blooming profusely, so there was also wild geranium, trillium, and jack-in-the-pulpits.  And mosquitos.  Tons and tons of mosquitos.  I'm really not ready for them and boy, do they love me!  This was a very quick walk since I was without bug spray.  Still, the chance to see such magnificent drifts of light blue was truly magical!

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