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In eastern North America, things are finally waking up. As warmer days creep northward, some of the first plants to reveal themselves are spring ephemerals like this sharp-lobed hepatica (recently lumped into the genus Anemone). Plants that use this "ephemeral" strategy are generally tiny forest-dwellers that send their flowers and leaves up early, before anything else begins to stir. When you live under heavy tree canopy, it's a pretty good strategy to finish your growing season before the surrounding oaks or maples leaf out and hog all the sunlight.
Usually, the only other things growing when our native spring ephemerals wake up are cultivated bulbs like tulips and daffodils --- plants brought over from Europe and Asia whose phenologies (cyclical patterns) are still programmed to the conditions of their home regions. While our spring ephemerals are most often found in undisturbed woodlands, they are starting to gain traction in the horticultural trade for use in the garden.
Dive into our journal pages to expand your knowledge and follow our journey into the backcountry.