It’s the time of year that spring ephemerals are popping up! What is a spring ephemeral? Merriam-Webster’s definition of an ephemeral is “something that lasts for a very short time.” These plants pop up in spring, bloom, and then die back and disappear in the summer heat. The root structures stay alive to repeat this rapid growth and short bloom the following spring. Spring ephemerals are common in deciduous forests due to the abundance of light prior to when trees leaf out in late spring.
On April 15th I took a hike up to the Lower Table Rocks to see the beginnings of these blooms. There is an informative sign at the entrance to the hike with photos, common names, and scientific names of the spring blooms found around the plateau. I saw an abundance of western buttercups, Henderson’s fawn-lilies, and whiteleaf manzanitas in bloom. The shooting stars and hound’s tongue were just getting started. I could see the leaves of many more ephemerals developing, but they didn’t yet have flower stalks. It will be worth a second visit at the end of April to see the later blooming ephemerals.