Monday, March 19, 2012

Two Good Reasons to Take a Walk in the Woods Today

It's always a treat to take a hike through the woods, but when you find treasures like these along the way, it's more than peaceful and relaxing, it's fun!

I present reason #1 for taking a walk in the woods today:  The Halberd-leaf Violet (Viola hastata).  This violet is blooming now at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve* in Charlotte, but if you can't get to Reedy Creek, try the deciduous mixed hardwood forest closest to you; Halberd-leaf Violet is native all along the east coast, from New York to north Florida.

These plants like sunlight, growing and blooming before the trees have leafed out.

This is what the terrain looks like where the violets grow; those bright spots of yellow and green aren't too difficult to spot against all the brown and gray.  By the way, the name Halberd has to do with the shape of the leaf which someone in another time decided looked like a halberd, a combo ax/spear battle weapon from the 15th and 16th centuries.

A little way down the path is this mossy slope (with a couple of bluets if you look closely), ...

but what I want to show you is this ...

another little treasure, and second good reason to take a walk in the woods today -- Round-Lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)!

The spiky leaves in the first hepatica photo are from some other plant, I know not what; you can see the leaves that actually go with it a tiny bit better in this one.   Okay so not very well at all!  Try this instead.

Round-lobed Hepatica likes moist soils.  These were on a creek bank, and all the clumps were in or around moss.  It is a native Spring ephemeral, occurring all over the eastern United States and Canada.  Get out and find it before it's gone for another year!


*Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is one of Charlotte's best natural areas, with over 700 acres of forested habitat and ten miles of hiking trails, within Reedy Creek Park.  It is a great place to take your children, too, because in addition to playing in the woods, they can play on the playground equipment, have a picnic and enjoy a nice nature center with exhibits and gift shop.


  1. Great blooms! Love that sweet yellow violet. I have a hike this coming Saturday. Hope we find some goodies!

  2. i bet you'll find lots of good stuff. good luck and have a great time... will be looking for your post about it!

  3. Daricia, obviously great minds run in the same direction! I was so busy yesterday I didn't see your interesting new posting.

    This is all very exciting for me since I've never been in the mountains during spring. Lots of treats await, I'm sure!

  4. you are right, many great plants in your area. you're going to have a great time discovering things.

  5. Så mange smukke blomster.
    Tak for rundvisningen.
    Jeg kan rigtig god li` dit første billede, næsten et maleri.
    Ha` en god dag.

  6. This nature preserve looks like a wonderful place to explore! How great that you live near it.
    Enjoyed your photos, especially the sweet little violet!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea's Menagerie

  7. that's gorgeous! I'll have to add Hepatica to my list of things I need in my little space.