Saturday, May 17, 2014

Common Pink/Purple Woodland Flowers

We have an abundance of pink-purple spring flowers.  It's easy to get them confused.  Hopefully, this post will help you identify some. You may need to click these pics to blow them up enough to get a really good look at these spring flowers.   

This is Jacob's ladder - Polemonium reptans.  Also called Abscess Root, Creeping or Spreading Jacob's Ladder, False Jacob's Ladder, American Greek Valerian, Blue bells, Stairway to Heaven, and Sweatroot.  

The flowers are more purple than pink.  Notice the leaves - they're pretty distinctive.

Polemoniums make beautiful perennial garden plants and many have been bred for showy flowers. 

Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum. Also called old-maid's nightcap and wood geranium.

It's a beautiful pink flower with 5 rounded petals.  The leaves have 5 lobes and remind me of hands.   If you are a gardener, then you will recognize these as being closely related to the perennial geraniums that you find at good nurseries and garden centers [not the pelargoniums sold as 'geraniums', but which are not perennial anywhere but the warmest of places.  Ridiculously confusing, but there it is.]

Here's a better pic.    These bloom at the same time as the Jacob's ladder above.  

Finally, we have the wild blue phlox that loves the roadsides around here in April and May.    This is Phlox divaricata.   It is pink-purple [not blue here] and has five petals like the geranium, but the petals are less round and more pin-wheel like.  

The flowers bloom in a loose cluster about a foot tall, like the taller garden phlox.  

The range is all over central and eastern U.S. and Canada, south through Texas and Florida. 

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