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LWI had two Sunday outings in May to look at wildflowers in Mandaumin Woods. Nick Alexander was our leader. He has a background in horticulture, works with Return the Landscape, and has a fascinating amount of information to share about the plants at Mandaumin Woods. On our first visit we were treated to quite a display of trillium. Two week later, on Mother’s Day, some of the trillium had started to turn pink as the blossoms aged. There was the occasional red trillium mixed in as well. May 13th was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods and it was remarkable to see the difference in the surroundings after just two weeks. On both instances, rubber boots were a must as the woodlot has significant amounts of water and the trail was muddy.

Each time I go on a plant walk, I am determined to take notes, but never do. Next time!

On May 13th the wild geranium were in bloom. In the wild, each plant supported only a few blooms and each plant was quite low growing. This is a contrast to the same plant grown in a garden setting. Garden plants are much taller and bushier with an abundance of blooms. Wild geranium is an indicator species of a Carolinian forest. Mandaumin Woods has an abundant supply of this plant as well as other Carolinian species. We have sugar maple, shagbark hickory, American beech, ironwood and muscle trees quite close to the trail. The hickory saplings are very distinctive as the leaves make a large flowerlike bud before they emerge. The woodland does not have a lot of non-native species and we have been attempting to get rid of the buckthorn that was near the road.

We saw spicebush, nannyberry, wild ginger, jack in the pulpit, trout lily, mayflower with early fruit, and anemone which were finished blooming by the second visit. There was quite a discussion about common names as some plants are known by as many as four or five different common names for the same plant. There is something to be said for learning the Latin names to avoid confusion.

For example my wildflower book says this is a large flowered bellwort but I think Nick said this was some kind of lily and a desirable garden plant. It looks rather wilted and but the drooping nature is just how it looks.

We passed around a small stem from a spicebush which was very aromatic.  One of our fellow trekkers informed me that it was the host plant of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly and that their native plant garden has had caterpillars of the swallowtail on their spicebushes.  We will be touring that native garden this summer as one of our native garden tours. The tour on August 10th has the incorrect address included in the brochure. The correct address should be 6719 Old Mill Road.

On the latter part of the walk we saw a red headed woodpecker and this grey tree frog among the trout lily leaves. Trout lily is a spring ephemeral which will disappear later in the summer.  The frog can change colour from grey to green depending on its surroundings.

This was an enjoyable outing. Next year we will be looking at wildflowers at Reid’s Conservation Area.