Week 9: Fist Blooms of Sping
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Week 9: First Blooms of Spring
Plants need energy to make flowers, & they get it from the
sun. Because trees are covered with leaves in the summer,
thus creating shade, most forest wildflowers bloom in the spring
in order to grab as much sunlight as they can.
Pink Lady’s Slipper
(aka Moccasin Flower)
Flowers: 2.5-4 inch slipper-like inflated
pouch. Pine, red, or white. Solitary
Two long strongly ribbed leaves.
Where: Mixed forest; bogs and
When: Mid-spring - early summer
(aka Stinking Benjamin or Wake Robin)
Flowers: 1-3 inch wide with three
petals, maroon, often nodding,
three large leaves, stems smooth
Where: Moist forest
Flowers: 1.5 - 2.5 inch wide, white, with
pink-streaked centers, upright,
singular, three leaves, stems smooth
Where: Moist forest, swamp edges
Flowers:1/4 - 1/2 inch wide & star shaped,
white, stalked above leaves, lance-shaped
leaves in whorl, stems smooth
Where: Moist and dry forest
When: Spring - early summer
Wildflower Coloring Pages
Color away and learn the names of a few more
common wildflowers you will find in the woods
of western Maine.
Red Trillium (L) and Painted Trillium(R).
Star Flower in bloom.
Each week we feature a lesser known naturalist in our Pocket Journal Series.
In this space you will find the full quote and more information about the author.
Kate Furbish, “Maine’s swashbuckling Victorian botanist”
“...were it not for the fact that I can find no plants named for a
female botanist in your manual, I should object to ‘Pedicularis
Furbishae’ for it [naming of a plant for its discoverer] is too often
conferred to be any particular honor...But as a new species is
rarely found in New England and few plants are named for
women, it pleases me.”
~In an 1881 letter to Sereno Watson, curator of
Harvard University’s herbarium
Kate Furbish was born in 1834 and grew up in Brunswick, ME where she developed
a passion for botany and drawing at an early age. She is most known for spending
38 years traveling, often alone, through the Maine wilderness (particularly in Aroostook County) collecting, classifying, and making watercolor drawings of the flora of Maine.
Her extensive plant pressings and highly accurate drawings drew great respect from famous botanists at the time and is still unparalleled in its scope. She is perhaps best known for documenting an endangered plant that was named in her honor, the Furbish’s lousewort. This plant is only found along a 130 mile stretch of the ice-scoured shores of
the St. John River. Famously, re-discovery of this wild snapdragon helped stall and then stop the building of the Dickey-Lincoln dam in 1976, which would have flooded 88,000 acres of northern Maine forests. Kate helped found the Josselyn Botanical Society of Maine, published articles in American Naturalist, and her collection of paintings and drawings were bequeathed to Bowdoin College in 1908.
“Had I listened to those who discouraged me from going into that part of the state because the Flora would not be likely to repay me for the expense and fatigue, I should be as ignorant as they are of its natural beauties,” she said in a speech for the Portland Society of Natural History in 1883, blithely titled, “An Evening in the Maine Woods.”
See some of her famous drawings here!
Brochure about the rare Furbish’s lousewort ~Maine Natural Areas Program
“It’s not just Furbish’s lousewort. It’s Kate Furbish’s lousewort.” ~U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“Kate Furbish: Self-taught field botanist and painter” ~ Bangor Daily News
More about Kate Furbish and her work in Maine Encyclopedia
“An Icey Life on the St. John River” ~ Northern Woodlands
Kate Furbish: tenacious botanist, gifted artist, my new role model. Courtesy of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.
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Where Cinderella dropped her shoe,
’Tis said in fairy tales of yore,
’Twas first the lady’s slipper grew
And there its rosy blossom bore
And ever since, in woodlands gray,
It marks where spring retreating flew,
Where speeding on her eager way,
She left behind her dainty shoe.
~ Elaine Goodale Eastman
(1863 - 1953)