Do Look Down (Part I)
Here are a few of the wildflowers I have encountered so far this spring. You are welcome to use the pictures, just give credit to this site. Each of the following species can be found in the rich coves of Southern, WV where they are often burried by mountaintop removal/valley fill coal mining.
Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). What appears to be a black digit (or jack) is a tight raceme of flowers called the spadix. The overhanging leaf-like apendage is called the spathe.
Jack in the pulpit is in the Arum family and aris is the Greek word for arum. Arum is the arabic word for fire. Tasting the acrid roots of this plant will leave “fire blisters” on your tonuge.
Spring Beauty (Claytonia Virginica)
The tubers (underground stems which store sugar reserves) of this plant are eaten like potatoes (which are also tubers–not roots) and are reputedly delicious. In fact, a nickname for this plant is fairy spud.
Long spurred violet ( Viola Rostrata)
Round-lobe Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis). Hepaticas are some of the earliest wildflowers to bloom, often emerging in late winter before the snow melts. They are able to survive in frigid conditions in part because their buds and stems are covered by a thick mat of hair, which helps contain heat.
Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens). This is an evergreen shrub and can be found sprawled across the floor of dry woods. It is somewhat rare so please do not pick.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis). The juices from the stem were used by Indians to make reddish dye.