As spring rolls in, the north east is filled with colorful flowering trees. Most of which aren’t native. But one small tree stands out, the redbuds. A native large shrub/small tree, the redbuds are covered in magenta pink flowers that occur in clumps right on the tree branch, or sometimes on the trunk itself. It is pollinated by long-tongued bees.
As the flower shape suggests, the redbuds belong to the Fabaceae family, also known as the pea/legume family.
The showy and long lasting flowers are why this plant is common in cultivation and is used in gardens and homes to add color to their spring gardens. Because its native, it also helps native bee population in the early months of spring and summer.
A common native orchid found in eastern united states and Canada, the Showy Orchid, also known as showy orchis, purple-hooded orchid, or gay orchid, lives up to its name, albeit tinily. They bloom from April to June before the forest canopy is fully leafed out. The orchid thrives in humus-rich deciduous woodlands with a slightly acidic ph. As with almost all orchids, they depend on fungi for their seed germination.
These flowers were all over the reserve and indicated a stable population. There were many new orchids with a single leaf out. Most orchids had one or two blooms on them, but a few managed three!
After a month of moving to my new place I decided to upload pictures from Spring of 2020. I pray I can go out and photograph again!
Mountain laurels are a broadleaf shrub native to Eastern US, from Maine to northern Florida. Flowers range from white to light pink and bloom from May to early June. The plant’s size is heavily dependent on its growing conditions. In Appalachia, it can grow as large as a tree. While in less ideal conditions, the plant remains a smaller size.
The plant is known for its unique method of pollination. The anthers are under tension as the flower matures. When a pollinator lands on the flower, the tension is released, and pollen is flung on to the pollinator.