Harbinger of Spring

For twenty years I’ve been walking the hills around home. There is a lot of room, diverse habitats, new flowers to find each year. But no harbinger of spring.

This year I am expanding my walks to include some new areas with new habitats. One of those areas is along the upper reaches of the Meramec River almost a mile down the road.

The road has been part of my walking for years. There are numerous plants found on the roadsides on the way not common or absent from near home. White and purple prairie clovers are two.

spring beauty

Almost an inch across and mostly white this wildflower catches the eye. The delicate pink stamens, spots, sometimes stripes make this flower a beauty. It is called spring beauty.

This year I am walking down along the river. During the December flood much of this area was under water higher than my head. Debris wedged in the trees leaves witness to the high water mark.

Now the water is gone. Wet silt dirt and sand are left. Plants are growing up quickly.

As is usual I walked down scrutinizing the roadsides. It is a fast scrutiny for the moment as not much is in bloom. Except there was a lovely white flower with pink stamens.

harbinger of spring flowers

Barely above the ground small white flowers with dark stamens look different. The wildflower is probably too small to be in the guidebook.

The flower looked vaguely familiar. The best way for me is to take pictures and look it up when I get home.

Pictures include the flower, the plant, the leaf, the stem and leaf arrangement. Pretty flowers or ones I can’[t put a name to invite lot of pictures. There was one plant.

harbinger of spring umbels

Important points to notice for identifying the flower are the smooth stem, opposite deeply cut leaves looking fern like and the habitat of damp silt ear a river.

At least there was one plant until I went down the path along the river. Then there were lots of these flowers.

Scanning the ground I spotted some short plants blooming madly with clusters of white petals surrounding dark stamens. The flowers were less than two inches off the ground. They were small, only a quarter inch or so across. The plant did sprawl out but was never tall.

Back home I opened the wildflower guide. The two flowers were the first ones there: Spring Beauties and Harbinger of Spring.

harbinger of spring plant

The first harbinger of spring plant I found was barely two inches tall. Later I found a plant sprawled out with stems six to eight inches long. All had that salt and pepper look of white petals and dark stamens giving it one common name.

Browsing through the guides, I knew about harbinger of spring. I went looking for it and never found it. Now I know why I never found it.

The plant I was looking for was six inches tall. It would be easy to spot.

Perhaps I should do more browsing looking at plant pictures of ones I would like to find. This time I better look at the heights given too.