On Sunday, April 12, while birding in the woods beside Columbus Park lagoon, we discovered the emerging leaves of native wildflowers. We found the first Mayapple leaves we’ve seen this spring:
And also the first Trout Lily leaves:
We had seen Cutleaf Toothwort blooming earlier this spring at Clinton Lake in central Illinois, so we weren’t surprised to see both leaves and flower buds at Columbus Park:
We also made a slightly more ominous discovery. Back on March 23rd, we showed photos of a cultivated flower which we identified as Siberian Squill, but others know as Scilla (its scientific name). On Sunday we discovered that this garden flower has escaped its intended bounds and invaded the woods beside Columbus Park lagoon. Because this also happens elsewhere, Scilla is listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds and on some web documents about invasive plants. Some folks who track invasive species suggest that Scilla may not harm native wildflowers, like Trout Lily and Mayapple. But another wrote, “the jury is still out whether this is a harmless garden escapee or something to worry about.” So, we’ll keep an eye on the Park’s woodland Scilla this spring and beyond.