Cutleaved Toothwort blooming in Kilmer Woods
A number of spring wildflowers are starting to emerge from the leaf litter and bloom in the mid-Spring sun. The most common species in Kilmer Wood by far is the spring beauty, Claytonia virginica. Another species that is blooming right now is the cutleaved toothwort, Dentaria laciniata (pictured above). An alternative name for this plant is the pepperroot as the roots are purported to have a peppery taste. The speckled foliage of the trout lily, Erythronium americanum, is also commonly found through large sections of the woods. Unfortunately, the yellow bell-shaped blooms of the trout lily are a rather rare occurrence due to overbrowsing by deer.
It will be interesting to track the prgoress of a deer exclosure that Natural Resource Management students installed last fall in a canopy gap opened last fall by Hurricane Sandy. The exclosure was put in an area known to harbor trout lilies as well as mayapples, (Podophyllum peltatum). The students hypothesized that without the stress of deer browsing that these flowers would have the resources to bloom. Can’t wait to see.