Sunday, May 1, 2011

Toothwort, trillium, Virginia Bluebell

I had big plans to do a series of posts rounding up some nice spring finds, and publish them over several days, but who am I kidding. I've been on several hikes since the last of these images were taken, and each hike generates more images...

So here's a whole bunch of spring woodland posts, published separately but all on the same day, or I'll never get caught up.

Toothwort--Dentaria laciniata. A purple dragon when this young.
Trillium sessile (this is a pale form of the typical maroon ones)

Virginia bluebell--Mertensia virginica. The young leaves lose this luscious purple color as they develop.
Virgina bluebell, bird's-eye view. Emerging buds visible upper left.


  1. How did you id the toothwort? I am trying to id the plant you are calling toothwort, and at first I thought it was a young toothwort as it appears at the same time as the green-leaved, pinkish white blossomed ones intermingled around it. But the purple one has 6 star shaped petals instead of the 4 "cross"-shaped petals of the brassicacaea family...?

  2. Hey! Found out the purple dragony plant is a very young blue cohosh! When mature is branches out and gets a bit bushier. Someone i.d.'d it on my blog and I researched it and yes indeed it is!

    1. One ID point is that cohosh typically has a little swelling at the leaf base, and toothwort does not. Also, toothwort is about 5" tall, and cohosh gets considerably taller (1-3 feet). I visit the same areas very often, and see stuff as it develops, often just a few days apart. So, I saw this in bloom a few days later, in an area loaded with toothwort. I can see that I should have more to back up my case, but having seen it in bloom, and no cohosh in my usual haunts, I'm stickin' to toothwort!
      But I'm glad you took the time to write, because now I'll be on the lookout for purple dragon lookalikes!

  3. Yeah, maybe yours is toothwort and mine is cohosh. Hard to tell without the bloom, the flower is a dead giveaway. My cohosh definitely has that same profile tho. I think the two plants start off to look very similar but the toothwort stops growing and the cohosh continues, or opens a star-shaped blossom as a clue.