Seeds and Fruit

They say that April showers bring May flowers, but they got it backwards.  This spring in Ohio, the wildflowers definitely peaked in April, while May has brought rain.

Still, the flowers themselves are only half the show.  After they’re done blooming, plants get down to the real business of reproduction, making seeds (and fruit in which to disperse said seeds).  It’s been interesting to revisit forest floor plants that bloomed a month or more ago and see what they’re up to now.

Bloodroot blooms very briefly…

…and then produces seeds attached to fleshy arils that scream “eat me!” to passing ants.  This seed pod isn’t ripe yet; when it is it will split open.

Mayapples are, of course, named for their fruit.  My understanding is that these fruits are actually edible when they ripen, at which point they turn from green to yellow.  If I happen to find an intact ripe one this summer I’ll gladly taste it and report back, but the problem will be finding one that critters haven’t already got to.

Bishop’s cap, aka miterwort, produced tiny white snowflake-shaped flowers last month, and now each one is a tiny cup holding black seeds the size of grains of sand.

The droopy yellow flowers of bellwort…

…are also developing into little green fruits.  And notice the way the stem of this plant appears to punch right through the leaf; the botanical term for this is “perfoliate,” and I think it looks really cool.

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4 thoughts on “Seeds and Fruit”

    1. As far as I know, the name comes from the fact that if you break one off at its base, the sap is red. They’re fairly common, at least in my part of the country, but they really do seem to bloom more briefly than lots of other wildflowers; I think this spring the flowers only lasted about a week. Still, the leaves are quite distinctive and last for a long time after the flowers are gone, so you can still find the plants if you know what you’re looking for.

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