Saturday, March 21, 2009

First flowers of spring!

Saturday morning I went for a walk at my favorite local State Park, Nolde Environmental Center. I've recently lost some friends, and their deaths have really affected me. I have been very much out of sorts and not myself at all for the past month. And, on top of that, I've been in a creative funk. I felt this strong need to get out and get myself centered, and feel reconnected to myself, and the world around me again.

So my mission...Search for the first spring flowers of the forest!

So, What are these alien looking pods sprouting out of the ground? Are we under invasion? No!

These are one of the first flowering plants in the Pennsylvania woods. They actually grow near streams and water for their stems grow in the mud, and we see these wonderful, unusual flowers of the skunk cabbage. After the flowers die off, all we see are leaves at streamside.



This plant got its name because when you break off a leaf, it has a strong pungent odor, sort of like skunk. And no, I didn't break a leaf to see if this is so...I'll take the experts' word on this!! Besides, I was in a State Park, and it's unlawful to pick or defile any plant. And this particular State park is my equivelent to church.



Anway, this is a very interesting fact from Wikipedia that I was not aware of... Skunk cabbage is is able to generate temperatures of up to 15-35°C above air temperature by a special means of cellular respiration in order to melt its way through frozen ground. It is among a small group of plants with the ability to do this, which is called, for those compelled to know, thermogenesis. Pollination occurs by insects, which are attracted to the odor and to the heat from the plant. Since I found out this fun fact after I got home, I wasn't able to test if the immediate air around the flower was warmer.

And this is how it becomes one of the first flowers of spring! I bet you thought I was going to talk about crocuses!

Just in case your interested...I am much better, and much less disconnected. I am ready to spend time in my studio and create again!

Wishing you all a wonderful and peaceful day!
Mich

2 comments:

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Glad you are feeling better. Something about nature that does that to us:):)

Octavine Illustration said...

there's nothing like the daffodils (or skunk cabbage) blooming that renews the self and the spirit. here's to beautiful spring afternoons!~