Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Almost Flowers February 28, 2009

Aaron and I went birding at Columbus Park on Saturday afternoon. The birds did not cooperate — we only saw three different kinds. So Aaron spent time breaking ice (one of his favorite things).

That gave me time to check some sprouting plants I showed here four days ago. The sprouts I photographed then were in the open, exposed to freezing air we’ve had since then. They were still green and not much larger. But in a sheltered spot, I found this:

These sprouts have white flower buds as well a leaves.

These sprouts have white flower buds as well as leaves.

A few buds had started to develop separate petals, but most were translucent two-toned pods in close up views:

The translucent buds have not yet developed separate petals.

These translucent buds have not yet developed separate petals.

I’m still not sure what kind of flowers these are, but we’ll keep watching until the buds are open.

So why are sprouts more developed here? They’re nestled in a woods on the south side of a building, which protects them from cold north winds. Also sunlight reflecting off south-facing walls and windows helps warm the soil below. Warmer plants develop faster than their colder kin.

Earlier this winter, a flock of Mourning Doves huddled here on cold but sunny days. They lined up by the dozens on the steps below the windows. Then the hawks discovered their sheltered spot, and the doves dispersed.

Nature Note added March 6: Go here to see the opened buds.


2 Responses to “Almost Flowers”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    These look like they might be “snow drops” to me. I see that at least one of the buds is bent over. Maybe when they grow, they first stand with the bud straight up before it “drops” over. They’re often the earliest flower in spring, even before crocuses, and frequently bloom even in a bit of snow. We’ve got a lot of them in my neighborhood in Evanston.

    Nice pictures. Thanks!

    • Thanks for helping me identify the flowers, Charlotte! I had been wondering if they might be Snowdrops. When I looked up photos on the web, the leaves and droopy bud looked right, but I couldn’t find anything that showed the buds. When they finally open, I’ll post more photos.
      See you, Eric

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