Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flowers in February

In eastern Pennsylvania, February is not usually considered a month when many flowers begin to bloom. However, the unseasonably warm temperatures over the last week and a half have caused many early-blooming species to emerge. Many of these species are flowers that will begin to flower as soon as there is an extended period of warm weather, so the bloom time varies greatly from year to year.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) - this species was blooming around this time last year as well. Warm weather usually causes the flowers to develop, although it takes several warm days for the flowers to actually open. Although the flowers are not yet open in the photograph, these flowers began to open on February 26.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis sp.) - With several days of sunlight, this flower is now in full bloom. This species began blooming last year around February 18, which is about the same time I first saw these flowers emerge in 2012.

Bird's-eye Speedwell (Veronica sp.) - This flower has actually been blooming through the entire winter. The flowers open in the sun, but close during nights and during colder days. This species grows very low to the ground and is easy to miss.

Primrose (Primula vulgaris) - This species is not quite ready to bloom, but a closed flower is visible amongst the basal leaves.

Bittercress (Cardamine sp.) - This flower could easy go unnoticed, as the small flowers grow very close to the ground in weedy areas. I found several hundred of these tiny plants blooming in my yard this week.

Crocus (Crocus sp.) - This is a very common early-blooming flower that can be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, purple, pink, and white. Last year, crocuses did not start blooming in Kunkletown, PA until March 3. This year, the first flowers were seen on February 19.

Purple Dead-Nettle (Lamium purpureum) - This species is a common weed of gardens and lawns. This is the earliest I can remember seeing this species blooming. The flowers can sometimes be similar in color to the leaves, so if you find this plant, look carefully for flowers, as they may be hidden.

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) - Today (February 26) I found the first open flowers of this wetland plant in Kunkletown, Monroe County. The combination of red, yellow, and green on these unusual flowers make Skunk Cabbage and easy species to spot. (Photo from 2011)

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