Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter Green

I keep expecting to see signs of spring in the woods, even though I know it's not quite time for that yet. Just to remind me that winter's still here, the paths at Naugatuck State Forest where I went for a walk this afternoon showed a thin layer of packed snow, left over from the few inches we got last Thursday:

Maybe because my mind is already in spring mode, though, I honed in on the color green during my walk today. There wasn't much in the way of new things growing, but it was nice to notice some of our plants that keep their leaves all winter. As it turns out, there's quite a bit of living green out there among the brown!

The shiny purple-green leaves of Round-leaved Pyrola, for example, dotted the side of this bank:

And this Spotted Wintergreen contributed a lovely blue-green hue to the mix -- one of these plants is still holding on to the dried remains of last year's flower:

Partridgeberry stretched chains of its tiny dark-green leaves across the ground:

My favorite discovery of the day was this lone Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, one of our native orchids, growing in a different part of the forest from where I found it blooming last summer. Its intricately patterned leaves practically glowed from its setting on the brown forest floor:

Isn't this just the prettiest little plant? I'll keep an eye on it to see whether it blooms this year.

The Hemlock trees looked especially green today, making a roof above the path:

And I love the extensive patches of sea-green lichen on this tree -- I've often noticed it, but neglected to photograph it until now:

And of course, what list of green things in the winter woods would be complete without some moss? There are so many different types of moss out there, and maybe one day I'll try to learn to identify them -- for now, I'll just marvel at some of the interesting textures and vibrant colors that presented themselves today:

The only real sign of spring I've seen so far remains the Skunk Cabbage, and those plants are getting stronger by the day, with little mottled maroon-and-yellow balloons popping up all over the swampy areas of the forest:

And what's this? A hint of new-green Skunk Cabbage leaf unrolling as well?

Maybe spring really is on its way after all. :D


  1. It's always nice to find other people who take notice of those small plants that remain green through the winter. Rattlesnake Plantain is one of my favorites.

  2. If you look for it, you will find it! ;-) I love finding the wintergreen and pyrola - I'll have to keep my eye out for the plantain!