Rock jasmine (Androsace occidentalis)
is April 11 in Wisconsin and spring has arrived, or so the calendar tells
us. Looking beyond the bursts of snow flurries, you can indeed find spring
this day. Rock jasmine (Androsace
occidentalis) is in flower and tiny long-bodied
flies investigate its foliage. Though more common in western states, this
(2.5 cm) is rare in Wisconsin where it meets the eastern edge of its
range. It prefers sandy to rocky soils where there is little competition
from other plants but where it must germinate, flower, and set seed before
the drier days of summer. Today its companion includes the new growth of
weed (Matricaria matricarioides),
not yet in flower. The fragrance of its crushed leaves are reminescent of
chamomile and later, the fragrance of the flowers will suggest pineapple.
I am surprised to find a plant of the Asteracea family also in flower today.
Common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
is, as its name suggests, a common annual in
our area growing in many disturbed areas. Early though these plants may
be, they are not the first to bloom this spring. Cabbage
flower or skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), silver
maple (Acer saccharinum), chickweed
(Stellaria media), beaked
hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), and
willow (Salix discolor) have already
flowered. Soon to come are the elms (Ulmus
americana and U.
marigolds (Caltha palustris),
maple (Acer rubrum). Look closely,
breathe deeply, it is spring.
Contributed by UWGB graduate student Kathy Groves
© 2001-2004 The Cofrin Center
for Biodiversity and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay,
All Rights Reserved