Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blooming plants at Buddy Attick Park.

Late April is a lovely time of year to see blooming things at Buddy Attick Park in Greenbelt, Maryland. I wanted to document the blossoms I've seen, along with a few non-blooming plants or soon-to-be-blooming plants. All of the photographs in this post were taken at Buddy Attick park in the last few days. (I am not a horticulturist or a botanist, so you are welcome to comment on or correct my attempt at plant identification.)

Growing near the East entrance are these beautiful Virginia Bluebells, or Mertensia virginica. There aren't very many of them, perhaps because they are competing with non-native invasive plants in the area. They were originally planted here by Greenbelt Public Works.

Mertensia virginica  (Virginia Bluebells) 

Nearby, I found a few Wild Geraniums, also called Crane's Bill. There are hundreds of species in the Geranium family, so I'm hesitant to make a definitive statement about the Latin name, but this one seems to be Geranium maculatum.

Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium, Crane's Bill)

Growing close to little bridge near the East entrance, the Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) are plentiful. The flowers aren't quite open yet, but if you look carefully at the photo below, you can see a round bud hiding under the foliage. It will open into a nice white blossom.

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

If I were a small elf, I would want to take shelter under the umbrella-like foliage.

Also near the small bridge by the East entrance is this wonderful tree. It has dainty white bell-shaped blossoms.

My best guess is that this is one of the Silverbells, a small genus of several species. I'd say that this is the Carolina Silverbell, but I'm not sure. If you know, tell me in the comments.

A Carolina Silverbell?

Another tree that is in bloom now is Cercis canadensis or Eastern Redbud. I've always thought that these trees have a funny, charming shape, with their sort of stringy looking branches.

 Here's a close-up of the blossoms. Redbud leaves are heart-shaped. Of course, they're tiny at this time of year, while the trees are still covered in blooms, but they'll get bigger as the season progresses.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
On the peninsula are several Sweet Bay Magnolias. They are not in bloom yet, but when the blossoms open in a few weeks, you'll want to stop by just to smell them. They are extremely fragrant, with a scent that is lemony and sweet and spicy all at once.

I'm getting a bit giddy thinking about the fragrance. I hope that I don't lose my sense of smell anytime soon.

Magnolia Virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia)

The Flowering Dogwoods are in bloom now, and they appear to be near their peak. Except that they're not really in bloom! Technically what we think of as the flower petals are bracts. The true blossoms are those little greenish things in the middle. In this photo, you can see that those are not open yet.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

These wild azaleas just coming into bloom are Rhododendron periclymenoids, sometimes called Pinxter Flowers. 
Rhododendron periclymenoids (Pinxter Flower)

Buds on a Rhododendron periclymenoides.
The mountain laurel is not blooming yet, but it will probably start blooming in a few weeks. They are plentiful near marker nine on the trail. When they're in bloom, they have clusters of wonderful pentagonal blossoms, pinkish white in color. Here's the wikipedia article, with a photo of the blooms.

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
The Iris pseudocorus, or Yellow Flag, will also bloom later in the spring. It loves very wet conditions, so it grows at the edges of the lake. This is not a native plant, and it's considered invasive in some areas. At our lake, it doesn't seem to be a problem, at least to my untrained eye.

Iris pseudacorus (Yellow flag)
But the park definitely has a problem with some invasive plants, like the ones below:

Vinca minor (Periwinkle) 

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

A large group of Ranunculus ficaria (Lesser Celandine)

The invasive Lesser Celandine, shown here, is easily confused with Marsh Marigold, a non-invasive native. An easy way to tell them apart is that the Marsh Marigold has five petals, compared with Lesser Celandine's eight.
A Japanese Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera japonica) taking advantage of a tree.
Hedera Helix (English Ivy) is an enemy of the park.
And, of course, Poison Ivy is a native plant, but it makes the woods a land mine for super-sensitive people like my husband. In this photo, the new leaves are shiny and reddish. They'll look greener and less shiny later in the season.

Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy)

This tiny blue flower grows in patches as a delightful weed. It's commonly called Bird's Eye Speedwell, and I am almost confident that its Latin name is Veronica persica. The Speedwells can be confusing because they have so many common names, and more than one species share the common name of Bird's Eye Speedwell.

Veronica persica (Bird's Eye Speedwell)

You likely have Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) somewhere in your backyard. It's everywhere. The scalloped leaves have a yummy spicy scent, and its blossoms are so tiny that it was hard to get a good shot with my camera. Here's a link to the wikipedia article if you want to see a better close-up.
Glechoma hederacea (Ground-ivy), shown here with English Ivy.

And I used to confuse Purple Deadnettle, shown below, with Ground-ivy, though they're clearly different. (Ground-ivy also resembles Bugleweed, of the genus Ajuga.)

Lamium purpureum (Purple deadnettle)
 Here are two species of the Buttercup family:

Ranunculus acris (Common Buttercup)

Ranunculus abortivus (Kidneyleaf Buttercup, Small-flowered Buttercup) 

I'm guessing that this is Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), though I can't be entirely sure it's not Philadelphia Fleabane.

  Erigeron annuus (Daisy Fleabane)?

This almost looks like a photograph of trees in fall color, but it was taken yesterday. Brightly colored seeds give some trees a red or orange glow.

Here is a close-up of seeds on a Red Maple tree. If you look carefully, you can see the last little bits of the red flowers that were in full bloom a few weeks ago. The Red Maple, Acer rubrum, seems to be the best represented species of maple in the woods around here.

Acer rubrum (Red Maple) seeds.

Here are some Skunk Cabbages, Symplocarpus foetidus, which thrive in wet places. The Skunk Cabbage flowers are also finished now. The blossoms are odd looking things, spotted brown and purple, and they come up from the ground before the foliage appears. You can see a photo of a Skunk Cabbage blossom in the link here.

Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk Cabbage)

This thornless shrub is Jetbead or Rhodotypos scandens. (In the original post, I was unable to identify it, but a friend posted it on the Plant Identification facebook group.) It is non-native, and it can be invasive. 

Rhodotypos scandens (Jetbead)

This tree, growing on the path that leads to the peninsula, is still unidentified. It looks like a Cherry Tree to me, but I'm not sure. If it is a Cherry, I don't know which species it would be.

A Cherry Tree?

The bark of the mystery tree.


  1. Wow this is great! You are amazing!

  2. Wendy, I'm so glad that you liked it.

  3. Thanks for all the photos. I'm going to have to study this to learn the ones that I don't know.