The saturated earth gives slightly as I tread out to my thinking spot. The warm day and time of year makes me a little more cautious about where I step just in case one of our pit vipers has awakened from hibernation early. I was on my way to to practice some long exposure techniques on the little drainage ditch that runs off of my mountain and into Little Elk Creek. And there it was. The smile from nature that I’ve been longing for since Christmas. The Harbinger Of Spring. To give you an idea of how small the flowers are the black speck is a flea beetle and about 1/10 of an inch long. The plant is also known as Pepper and Salt and the scientific name is Erigenia Bulbosa but I am partial to Harbinger Of Spring. According to Wikipedia it is the first wildflower to bloom in Spring but I’m a little dubious about the accuracy since my fly honeysuckle started opening a few days ago. Nevertheless, it is a most welcomed sight. It means that I’ll soon be seeing the Carolina Spring Beauty, Fiddleheads ( young fern fronds ) and the Trillium.
One thing that I agree with Wikipedia on is the importance of these tiny flowers for solitary bees like the mason bees that will emerge from their holes into a harsh world. Before 1622 solitary bees were the main pollenators in North America. It stands to reason that their lifestyle would be closely tied to early blooming plants like Harbinger Of Spring. I have looked around the area where I found this one and it seems to be the very first one to pop up on my place. It also wasn’t there yesterday ( or at least it wasn’t in bloom) because I was in the same spot and actually looking for any changes to forest floor. But from this day forward I expect to see life explode onto the scene.
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