Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Plant of the Week: Harbinger of Spring (Eringenia bulbosa)

I absolutely love this tiny, dainty early spring wildflower.  It is sometimes called "pepper and salt" plant because of the white petals and anthers that turn black.  This is an easy plant to identify but is often overlooked because of its small size, usually around 3" tall at best.   It may even beginning flowering in the next several weeks and brings a spot of color to an otherwise brown, winter looking forest floor.  It has stout reddish stems that sometimes stand up tall but usually are creeping along the ground.  It has compound leaves and three leaflets for each leaf and each leaf generally has three lobes.Each flower is about 1/4" across and has 5 narrow white petals, 5 stamens, a divided white style, and no sepals and the anthers turn from dark red to black.  It has a corm with fibrous roots and usually self seeds itself and thus typically does not form large colonies. It is pollinated by small bees and flies like carpenter, Mason, halictid, and Andrenid bees and Calliphorid, Anthomyiid, Fruit,  Lance, and flower flies. As with most woodland species, this one likes rich, well-drained soils with very high organic matter and light dappled shade.  Good companion plants will be any of the woodland species that grow later and will cover up the diminutive plants later in the spring season.The genus name comes from the Greek word erigeniea which means early born, a reference to the early flowering season and the species bulbosa refers to the bulb-like rootstock.

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