IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, A FLOWER BLOOMS IN MORRIS PARK

A BITTER SATURDAY IN THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY, WE HEAD FOR THE FLOODPLAIN OF INDIAN CREEK IN SEARCH OF A BLOOMING FLOWER.  WE FIND A GREEN PLANT WITH A BLOOM:  THE SKUNK CABBAGE IS HERE!

Skunk cabbage in Morris Park, Philadelphia
Skunk cabbage in Morris Park, Philadelphia

Symplocarpus foetidus

If the middle of winter has you yearning for green blooming things, you are one wooded floodplain or swamp area away from discovering the blooming flower you need at this time of the year.

Skunk cabbage in Morris Park, Philadelphia
Skunk cabbage in Morris Park, Philadelphia

Green in January. Blooming in the dead of winter, the Skunk Cabbage is the happening flower to see. This plant creates its own heat, so if it snows, it can melt the snow around it so its blooms will be pollinated.  We have yet to see this feature of the plant in action.  The next snow we have we will be down on the Indian Creek floodplain to witness this wonder of nature. Today, we actively sought out the Skunk Cabbage, hoping to see a blooming flower in the middle of January.

To live in the vicinity of Skunk Cabbage in the dead of winter is something we appreciate.  Just go down to the low spots, along a creek or stream, and the Skunk Cabbage can be found blooming in the winter.

A windy and cold January day in Morris Park, Philadelphia
A windy and cold January day in Morris Park, Philadelphia

A cold and windy day in Morris Park. In the upland forest area on the Morris Park Road trail, we needed to bundle up. This is a great time to appreciate the silhouettes of the trees in that winter light.  The sun breaks through and creates startling images of the forest.

The winter sun illuminates the structure of the land, its topography and mass is presented in a raw manner. The steep hillsides and the creek are bare to the world. The plants and trees the same.  Sticks in the ground of varying sizes, also barren.  The ground is exposed as well, covered only with dead leaves that have become brittle.

Under the leaves are the many dormant roots, with vital buds waiting for the right moment to grow. The leafless trees also wait.

The winter sun gives us an impressionable light.  An unmistakable brightness and contrast to the darkness of winter.

A windy and cold January day, with Oak trees, in Morris Park, Philadelphia
A windy and cold January day, with Oak trees, in Morris Park, Philadelphia

Like the blooming Skunk Cabbage, the shining winter sun is much appreciated.

 

8 Replies to “IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, A FLOWER BLOOMS IN MORRIS PARK”

  1. should we look for blooming skunk cabbages in Monson now? We had our first real snow last night – just 1″, which is all I really want. Better than the Halloween snowstorm last Fall which knocked out power for 8 days. Until yesterday it’s been abnormally warm so far this Winter (was 2ºF yesterday morning). Warming up again today. Weird weather.

    Also, the Winter sunshine may be shorter in daylight hours, but the sun is closer, so the rays are stronger midday. Hence the interesting light when the sun shines!

    1. Now may be a good time to see if the skunk cabbage is melting the snow around it and to get a shot of that. Be careful of the swampy, soft ground if the weather has been warm.

  2. The Woods Wait

    wintergreen spreads
    next to partridge berry
    beneath brown birch leaves.
    Spindly evergreens, pine mostly,
    lean gently to the ground.

    The brook has overflowed
    washing over swamp cabbage
    sprouts springing from warm soil.
    Their graceful curves in bloom even
    as winter settles the ground to freezing
    covers the berries, snaps the branches.

    Tomorrow the hunting season begins.
    Silence disturbed only when leaves rustle
    will rend with gunfire. Signs of deer are too plenty.
    They will multiply and starve without
    men’s violence to bring them down
    whose actions have brought them here.

    Regret is not enough now. The woods
    wait for the swift death we can deal to
    keep a balance, once the task of mountain lion
    and grey wolf. In the witch hazel grove
    yellow blossoms hold themselves unbloomed
    until the cold will come.

    Maureen Solomon

  3. If perhaps they are blooming prematurely this year, than could they possibly have exhausted their usual blooming by early March?

  4. March is a great month for viewing a variety of trilliums in North Florida. Check out the March 9, 2011 Sanguine Root post, categorized under Field Trips.

  5. There is nothing quite so striking as the silhouette of trees against a deep blue winter sky. You’ve captured it.

    I thought the Sanguine Rooties were hibernating ’til Spring. Nope–you were just waiting for inspiration to strike. Trilliums are emerging and blooming in Florida through a trick of Nature’s mixed-up calendar this year.

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