Wildflower season in the woods

Now’s the time to see nature’s flower garden before the trees fully leaf-out and block the sunlight reaching the forest floor. Blooming trout lilies are a sure sign of spring and we were delighted when the trout lily in our backyard in Toronto (below) bloomed for the first time this year—typical for trout lilies, we had to wait five years.

Trout lilies grow from bulbs called corms; they also spread runners up to 25 centimetres through the soil to create new bulbs. These cloned corms send up their own leaves in spring. The process repeats itself year after year, decade after decade, forming extensive subterranean networks that help hold the soil together. Some trout lily patches are up to 300 years old.

Read more about the amazing life of trout lilies on page 385 of The Complete Up North.

The yellow trout lily flower take five years or more to bloom

The yellow trout lily flower take five years or more to bloom

Lichens stir in winter sun

Many lichens on south-facing trees and rocks stir to photosynthesize in the sun on mild winter days. If temperatures rise above freezing like they have in the past few days, fungi such as winter polypor and orange witches’s butter may swell up on tree bark.