for Your Phone
Click the PDF icon to the left. Set to print at 95% or fit
to page. Cut around the grey border before folding.
Week 6: Spring Ephemerals:
Ephemeral: Lasting only a very short time.
This week we are looking at 4 early wildflower species.
The early nature of their bud and bloom period plays an
important role in their community. They provide essential
food for early pollinators.
Plants We Will Identify:
Traits: Bright yellow dandelion-like
flowerhead; scaly stem
Size: Flowerhead about 1 inch
wide; 3 - 12 inches tall
Habitat: Roadsides, stony rubble,
Trailing Arbutus aka Mayflower
Traits: Fragrant pink or white flowers grow in small clusters
close to ground; leathery oval leaves, stems densely hairy
Size: Flowers about 1/2 inch; leaves 1 - 3 inches long
Habitat: Sandy or rocky soils, sunny trail-sides.
False Hellebore aka Indian Poke
Traits: Yellowish-green flowers; leaves long,
oval or lance-shaped, strongly ribbed
Size: Flowers about 1/2 - 1 inch
wide; leaves 6 - 14 inches long
Habitat: Wet woods.
Traits: Bright yellow flowers at tip of long stalks; long,
lance-shaped leaves deeply divided into many sharp segments
Size: Flowerheads 1 - 2 inches
wide; leaves 2 - 15 inches long
Habitat: Lawns, fields, roadside
Coltsfoot and flower fly. Coltsfoot
Trailing Arbutus can be both pink and white.
Flower Power Walk
1. Choose a sunny day and look for blooming
flowers in your yard or along a trail.
2. See how many flowers you
can find of the same color.
3. Do the sniff test and find out
which ones are fragrant.
4. Count the number of petals
each flower has.
* Record what you find in the field notes
section in your printed pocket journal. n
notes section of each page.
Flower pounding: Visit the Artful Parent for step-by-step
instructions on flower pounding to create beautiful flags.
Great for all ages with adult supervision.
Learn how to create a variety of flowers from items
you probably already have in your fridge. Lunchtime
never looked so good!
Dandelion Playdough: Who wouldn't love to make
and play with this flower petal dough? Talk about a
great sensory experience for all ages.
Making Flower art: Kinder Art provides 6 different
ways to make flower art in this post.
These flower seed paper ornaments can be planted in the
garden for beautiful blooms. Make them to give as a card
or Mothers Day present too!
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. Enjoy.
James Lucas, ethnobotany Ph.D. candidate,
Washington University in St. Louis, Colby College Class of 2015
Plants are one of the most useful organisms. Across cultures, plants—as food, medicine, clothing, dyes, timber, cosmetics, and paper—have long played key utilitarian roles in history, gastronomy, agriculture, religion, and the arts. Yet today, urban life and consumerism have thrown a veil on our botanical dependence, hampering our ability to identify even native plants: we far more readily recognize
blueberries and pecans in a grocery store than in a forest. Furthermore, we tend to undervalue plants whose uses cannot be commoditized, with the result that we can neither identify nor appreciate the plants that grow even in our own backyard. Learning not only what plants are present in an area, but also why they are valuable, are critical components of effective environmental stewardship—tenets we can model
after our continent’s first environmental stewards: Native Americans. Clues to their stewardship lie in the very words they gave to English.
Here are just a few:
Wicopy (Dirca palustris) is an Algonquian word which translates to “stringbark”,
reflecting its importance as a cordage material
Hackmatack (Larix laricina) is an Abenaki word for “wood used for snowshoes”
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and puccoon (Lithospermum spp.), used by
many tribes as dye plants, both derive from a Powhatan word meaning “herb
that yields pigment.”
As you hike in the woods this year, I encourage you not only to learn the plants
in your area, but to reflect on their importance to you, your community, and the
Leafing through History - Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO, 2019
Ethnobotany of Origami - Conference for Creators, Zaragoza, Spain, Feb 2020
Flower pounding with the Artful Parent