We’ve already sung the praises of Peterson’s wildflower guide, but where that failed, we’ve had some luck looking things up at MyWildflowers.com. Surprisingly, the Golden Ragwort dominated a large stretch of the towpath during a recent hike; however, it was nowhere to be found in the book. What I liked about the website is that it allows for categorizations, such as number of petals, color, and when the flower blooms, and a list (with pictures) of the most likely flowers is given.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Virginia Cowslip (Mertensia) has been a common sight along the canal. We noticed that we didn’t see Dutchman’s Breeches or Spring Beauties in our latest hike, so there is obviously a small window of opportunity for catching many of the flowers. With that said, there’s a bigger problem: I don’t have a good eye for identifying plants, and even with the help of a really good guide and website, there were several wildflowers that I couldn’t ID. Candee, fortunately, does a little bit better (and takes better pictures too!).
Fortunately, some of the wildflowers have really unique markings, such as the Smooth Yellow Violet. The fact that May Apples will be blooming in the coming weeks is also a plus. It’s a beautiful plant, they’re everywhere, and even I can identify them without help! In all, old dogs generally don’t learn new tricks easily, but I think I have a new springtime hobby. Hopefully, learning about wildflowers will become easier with experience!