I am that strange person that delights busting through brush and briars to get to certain places in the spring to find that first wildflower.
It isn't a pretty wildflower and it doesn't even smell nice. It is the Skunk Cabbage.
Interesting enough, the Skunk Cabbage can push up through frozen ground and the bulb can create heat up to 70 degrees F to melt snow from around it.
While definitely not the prettiest wildflower, I find it one of the most interesting. It can create its own heat [thermogenic]. It smells bad because it attracts pollinators that like rotting meat.
Most animals avoid eating the plants as they emerge as the leaves create a burning sensation in their mouths.
The plants themselves like wet forests and stream banks. I find these near the Big Spring in PeeWee's Valley.
The trek there is not an easy one any more. Years ago the brother that lived on the land had cattle that kept the land well grazed. 13 years ago the cattle left the land and the land has gone wild. Charlie and I explore the valleys in the late fall through late spring. In midsummer, the land is choked with tall Parsnip, brambles, and other plants.
By June the grasses and other plants around the stream will be nearly 4 feet tall.
But for now, we will still enjoy wandering along the creek looking for cool things.
Anytime it is cold but windy and sunny, I can walk in the valley and enjoy the weather without dealing with the cold winds. I took off my insulated flannel and hung it on a tree branch while walking east along the stream. I picked it up when I headed back home.
Charlie was a mud puppy. I had to rinse him off.
I'm so glad he is so easy going. When I got him out of the tub, I just laid him on his side and he let me towel him off.
The marsh marigolds shouldn't be far behind as I saw them just emerging in the Big Spring. I'll go back towards the end of next week to see if I can find any blossoms.
I'm pretty lucky to have this land near us. There are easier trails to be found at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve or one of our many County Parks. Duck Egg has an abundance of wildflowers in the lower trail that burst with Ephemeral flowers each spring.
I can't wait.
To find more Spring Wildflowers.