What is it with the spring ephemerals? Its early March and the weather is still nippy; the trees haven’t unfurled their leaves. No other self-respecting flower is blooming yet. Most plants are going to wait for warmer weather and bountiful buzzing bees and other myriad pollinators.
The trees haven’t unfurled their leaves. That’s the thing. Late winter and early spring sunlight is pouring all over the forest floor. It would be a shame to waste all that available energy. That is where spring ephemerals fit in. The Trilliums, the Bloodroots, the Jacob’s Ladder, the Troutlilies: all of them are grabbing sunrays and photosynthesizing food.
Forest flowers like Bloodroot, Sanguinaria Canadensis, are blooming now. Bloodroot flowers are with us very briefly – they only last a day or two – but the beautiful leaves will often stay up until August. These plants have already started setting seeds.
By the end of May, the tree leaves are out and stretching for the sun, and forest canopy closes overhead. Its shady, not as much sunlight is available for photosynthesis. Spring ephemerals will be done with flowering and will have moved on to making seeds.