What’s blooming now?

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on March 6.

Well, it is only early March, but a few tiny (and mostly weedy) species are already in bloom, shivering in the cold wind.

Here are a few things from Kin Beach Park in Comox [click a photo to enlarge it]. There should be some more early bloomers (blue-eyed Mary and such) coming along soon.

Helen reports that there are no gold stars (Crocidium multicaule) in bloom at Point Holmes yet, where they usually appear. The earliest blooming gold stars that Helen has on record are from February 22.

  1. The diminutive common whitlow-grass (Draba verna) is one of the first spring blooms. Note the seed capsules (silicles) at the top of the photo.
  1. Chickweed (Stellaria media), a commonplace garden weed, but good in salads if you have enough of it.
  1. Red deadnettle (Lamium purpureum). This small member of the mint family is edible, and tastes like spinach though the leaves are a bit hairy.
  1. Bittercress sp. in the genus Cardamine. I didn’t look too closely at it, but likely it is C. oliogosperma or C. hirsuta. C. oligosperma is a rhizomatous perennial, whereas C. hirsuta is a taprooted annual with hairier leaves. According to iNaturalist, C. hirsuta is more common in our area. It’s good tossed in a salad, and the taste has a nice peppery kick, as expected from a member of the mustard family.
  1. The English daisy (Bellis perennis). Not native to these parts, but a charming addition to the lawn where, thankfully, it usually stays.
  1. Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), though not in bloom yet, the new green leaves huddling under the firs are a welcome sight. A nice lettuce-like edible, but don’t tell anyone, since the remaining habitat for this plant is scarce. Keep your sampling minimal!
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