Wild Violets, Jack In The Pulpit, Mayapple, and Ramps!
Violets: we see them in our yards, in fields, anywhere we go in spring there's some sort of violet. How many different indigenous species are there in the state of Ohio? That is up for much debate. Give or take, there are at least 30 different indigenous types, if we included the hybrids, the non-native introduced, the others in the Violaceae family, we're looking at closer to 135!
Below are some of the beauties I've found on my adventures.
1 - Common Blue Violet
2 - Sweet White Violet
3 - (to be properly identified)
4 - Smooth Yellow Violet
5 - Longspur Violet
Jack in The Pulpit
Blooming now: Jack in the Pulpit.
Jack in the pulpit is also sometimes know as Indian Turnip. This plant is edible but must be cooked to avoid blisters and burning reactions. In late summer and fall this plant grows a cluster of shiny red berries on it's spadix which is a great meal for birds.
Mayapple blooms this time of year.
To find these beauties it helps to get way low as the large leaves tend to hide the showy 2 inch flower.
While the flower blooms in May. it doesn't grow its fruit until much later.
All parts of this plant are poisonous except for the golden-yellow fruit which is commonly made into jellies.
Beginning in early spring (March-ish) little stumps begin rising from the leaf matter. As they grow the stumps burst open into small double leaved plants (image 1). As these plants mature, a bold red base can be seen, sometimes even striping the leaves (image 2). These plant's leaves grow to be around 1 foot long and emit an odor similar to that of garlic onion.
Ramps are also known as Wild Leeks. In their young stages they are hard to differentiate from lilies which grow in much the same matter, but are very poisonous. Ramps, however, are quite edible and have made a name for themselves. Some areas with large ramp growth will even have festivals dedicated to this great plant! (ie. Peninsula Ramp Festival).
More information can be found here http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ALTR3
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.