Spring Beauty

Here we have the wonderful Spring Beauty! This little charm is a sure sign that Spring is here! Only about the size of a dime, it is a good thing they grow in large colonies along the woodland ground. They have the ability to carpet the ground due to their excellent seed dispersal technique; the dainty little flower will produce seed pods, that explode sending seeds as far as two feet away! These flowers may be small in size, but they have the adapted to the cold spring nights, windy days, and short lengths of sunlight, that other wild flowers have a hard time dealing with.

In the past, they were considered a great food source. The roots, or tubers, can be dug up and crushed into a mashed potato consistency. Tasting a bit sweeter than mashed potatoes, some consider them natures candy! Pioneer children would readily dig up the tubers, and although time consuming, those who have done it themselves say it is completely worth the effort. Digging up the roots can be detrimental to the plants persistence in that area. Once the roots are gone, they will not come back the next year. It is not worth picking the flowers, as they will wilt within a couple of hours and lose their color. Instead of picking a flower, why not take a picture? The picture will last forever and the actual flower is left behind to show off it’s brilliance to other visitors.

Have you seen any of these beautiful little flowers around your area? Take a walk into the woods to see! Where there is one, there is likely thousands more!

About Nick.Price

I am the park naturalist at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, with Kentucky State Parks. I have worked with KY State Parks since 2011 and enjoy every day coming to the park to work on trails, lead archery programs, and a variety of other daily activities.
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