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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mayapple Mania

Mayapples are not a plant to which I have generally given much thought, fond as I am of showy things in bright colors. Plants that show up suddenly in the spring and are mostly green, then go dormant in the heat of the summer when I usually have time to be outside, don't typically make it onto my list of favorite plants. This spring, though, is different; it came earlier and is lasting longer than spring generally does in our part of the world, and I've been making time to get out. This Earth Day weekend found me in Toledo, where of course my beloved and I trekked to Wildwood Metropark, where the mayapples are plentiful.

Wikipedia says that the plants form large clumps in mesic woods, information that I would have to say is accurate.

Wikipedia also says, however, that the "apples" do not arrive in May but later in the summer. No one told the Wildwood plants, numbers of which are fruiting in April:

I'm not sure I had ever noticed mayapple in bloom before. Unlike many of the spring flowers, mayapples do not flaunt their blossoms but carry them under the leaves. I had to have help to photograph these.

An interesting tidbit from the Nature Notes blog on the Toledo Metroparks website: mayapple fruit is a favorite food of turtles, and the seeds germinate more enthusiastically for having passed through the digestive system of said reptile. From the numbers of mayapples we saw today, last year must have been a good one for turtles.

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