Beau March 23rd, 2009
Lately our weather is so variable, with each day different from the rest- sounds like spring! Today it’s cool and windy with some heavy rain the forecast. It’s such a great time of year though- and we’ve been enjoying the time outdoors. A walk through the forest yields some interesting sights, especially down at ground level. We found ourselves admiring several of the Bryophytes… non-vascular plants that we call mosses. We wander around and try not to step on them, and really have no idea what species or type they are… “Dad, what kind is this?” “Ah… it’s one of the mosses.” “Yeah, but what kind?!” “Oh, there’s really so many…” “So, you don’t know, is that it?” “Ah, well, yes- I really don’t know, because…um, there’s so many… oh, Hey! Would you look at that bird over there!”
A bright green patch of moss looks so soft and inviting- there’s a rock in the middle of this patch. Soft moss, soft moss, soft moss… reminds me of Tiger and Kipper. Did you ever watch Kipper the dog? Great little British cartoon.
The tiny sporophytes sticking up from this moss species look like strange hairs on some green beast.
Another moss species has a different look and shows what we might call “moss flowers” but instead they are perichaetia – essentially organs in which the reproductive cells develop and fertilization occurs. Very different from flowering plants with seeds. Each little “tree” below is only as wide as a pinky finger, and as tall as a thumbnail- about the same scale as the fingertips in the photo above. It’s very soft too…
We also found the first wildflower on our property last week- a wild Bluet. This is a tiny little flower found growing in patches- the young boy noticed it first and I was surprised I was sitting next to quite a few of them. Well, not so suprising without my reading glasses since they’re tiny!
Wild Bluet (Hedyotis crassifolia)
Here’s my three-inch pocketknife for a sense of scale- these are really little.
It’s fun to get outdoors in spring and see the many changes. Soon we won’t be able to keep up with it all. Leaves are starting to emerge, and the trees will be covered in a months time. The purple martins and barn swallows should be returning over the next few weeks too.