By Jake Francis, Director of Education, Schrader Center — The first Spring Beauties “Claytonia virginica” bloomed this week along the Falls Vista Trail. This quintessential spring wildflower is the first showy NATIVE plant seen blooming along our trails at the Schrader Center, opening when the temperature raises above 11 C (~52 F). The really interesting story about this plant lies in the difference in flower color from individual. The majority of flowers (including the individuals observed this week) are white with variable pink lines on the petals. If you search many plants though, you will find that a large portion of plants produce deep pink/purplish flowers. Interestingly, the deep colored flowers are pollinated more often by flies and bees, so one might think they would be more common, but a study found that a certain species of slug also prefer to eat the leaves of pink-flowered plants (making them less successful!)
These interesting little ephemeral will bloom as long as the temperature is warm enough and the canopy is open. If you chance across a pink individual while hiking our trails, snap a photo and we will add it to this blog post.