Found throughout the eastern United States and Canada, spring ephemerals thrive on the floor of rich, undisturbed woodlands. They are also very happy in the right garden setting. Most plants are available from brick and mortar native plant nurseries and the internet, so please don't dig them from woodlands, leave them for other critters to enjoy.
|The solitary bee, Andrena erigeniae specializes on Spring Beauties/Claytonia virginica|
These remarkable and fragile beauties emerge early each spring, taking advantage of the rich, moist soil and full sunlight streaming through the bare branches of the deciduous trees. In the short period of time before the tree canopy emerges and blocks the sunlight they must grow, leaf-out, flower, be pollinated and produce seeds. This is called the epigeous or above ground growth phase. Once they fade they enter the hypogeous, or below ground growth phase when roots and buds are busy developing.
Freezes and frosts don't faze them. They grow very low to the sun warmed soil and some, even have hairy leaves/stems or leaves that wrap around the emerging buds, trapping warm air that keeps them from freezing.
| Enemion biternatum/False Rue anemone|
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.