by Carl Strang
Spring is advancing in fits and starts, with alternating warm and cool periods, but through it all the plants of St. James Farm Forest Preserve are growing, and many have been blooming. Some of them are familiar, some new to me, but together they are demonstrating an impressive botanical diversity, especially in the forest.
White trout lilies are abundant, but they began to bloom later at SJF than in other area forests.
Swamp buttercups are common throughout.
Virginia bluebells always are a welcome sight this time of year. The ones at St. James Farm probably originated in the estate’s gardens, but have made themselves at home in scattered places well away from there.
Yellow violets, as well as the common blue ones, brighten the forest floor.
Patches of wood anemones are frequent in shady spots.
The botanical connoisseur will want to know about the sedges. Four early ones are blooming now, the common wood sedge, Wood’s stiff sedge, and two more:
There are large patches of common oak sedge in many places.
Long-beaked sedge was a new one for me, as was Wood’s stiff sedge.
More mundane, but adding to the preserve’s diversity, are others worthy of mention.
Common chickweed is an introduced species, at home in the lawns.
Not flowers, or even plants, bracket fungi visually enhance the forest as they grow to produce their spores.