When I hiked last weekend, the woods were full of early spring flowers. Trillium, Wild Geraniums, Violets, and many others were all in full bloom. Violets in particular are some of my favorite spring flowers, not only for their beauty, but also their variety. Blue, yellow, and even white violets carpet the forest floor and truly signal that spring is here.
I find most of the Violets, like the Common White Violet at the right, down in the floodplain, but they can be anywhere in the woods really.
The Common Blue Violet is one of the most abundant wildflower in late April and early May, and this cluster was in full bloom next to the creek bed. I am sure that the next heavy rain will wash away all of them, but for now they are in full bloom.
Trillium is also one of spring's early bloomers. We have several species in the Little Sewickley Creek area, but my favorite by far is White Trillium. The flowers begin white, but will eventually turn pink as they age.
Wild Blue Phlox, with its much larger flowers and taller stature than its domesticated counterparts that are featured in many flower gardens, has such a deep purple color that it contrasts greatly with the lush green of the forest in spring.
May Apple, which is mostly poisonous to consume but was used for medicinal purposes by both Native Americans and early settlers to the region, flowers early in May and carpets the forest floor on the stream's floodplain for months.
Wild Geraniums seem to always have insects hovering about and one more than one occasion, I've photographed insects waiting out rainstorms inside their petals that slightly retract during heavy showers. The flowers at left has its share of insects, in what is most likely a symbiotic relationship beneficial for both parties.
Long Spur Violet is a beautiful mix of whites and blues that transition into pastel-like hues and are one of my favorites to stumble upon while out hiking. The name comes from the "spur" directly behind the flower petals that is barely visible in my picture at right (the very top of the spur can be seen behind the uppermost petal).
The Downy Yellow Violet, with its bright yellow petals and dark purple vein-like streaks stands out in the forest and like all violets, the leaves and flowers are apparently edible and can even be brewed into a thin tea.