A green blush is showing on the trees meaning leaves are starting to burst from their buds. This puts pressure on the spring ephemeral wildflowers to get done with blooming and setting seed before shade covers the hillsides under the trees.
A large array of wildflowers is now bursting into bloom such as Trillium, three-lobed violets, rue anemone, spurge, shooting star and wild geranium.
Geranium maculatum L.
April to June Family: Geraniaceae
Flower: Clusters of pink to lavender flowers are on long, hairy stems. Each flower has a short, hairy stem, about an inch long. Five, hairy, pointed sepals spread out under the five petals. The petals spread wide and are thin with darker veins making delicate netting. Ten stamens with bar-shaped anthers surround a pistil with a split end.
Leaf: Most leaves are basal on long, hairy petioles. Some are opposite on the stems. The leaves are deeply lobed with five lobes and palmate veins. each lobe has a rounded to squared off end with several lobes, the center one being longer than the others. The leaves have short hairs especially along the veins, upper and lower surfaces. The underside is paler green than the upper surface.
Stem: Several stems grow up and can reach two feet tall. The stems are round, green or reddish in the sun and hairy with quarter inch long hairs drooping down.
Root: The roots are strong, perennial rhizomes.
Habitat: This plant prefers open woods and light shade.
Spotted Crane’s Bill
Wild Geranium is easy to spot once the flowers start opening. They are big, over an inch across and pink. I usually find them in the edges of the woods along my pastures.
The leaves start out more compact but still have the five lobes. As the plant gets older, the leaves stretch out into their characteristic shape. They do look like big crane feet, but that is not where the name comes from.
Spotted Crane’s Bill is from some plants with spotted leaves although I’ve never seen any spotted leaves. The crane’s bill part I have seen. This refers to the seed pods which have a round upper part containing the seeds and a long beak sticking out.
Wild Geranium plants are spread out because most of the leaves are basal, growing directly up from the rhizomes. There can be more than one branching flowering stem. The flowers disappear in a month or so and the plants hang on for another month or two then vanish until the next spring making this one of the spring ephemerals.