Submitted by Faye Mahaffey,
OSUE Brown County Master Gardener Volunteer
My husband hoped to hunt for mushrooms this week, but I think we will need to wait for warmer days to have any luck. As usual, I was busy admiring the wildflowers and snapping pictures of my discoveries (none of which were mushrooms).
What did we find? Hundreds of Red Trillium, masses of Mayapples just ready to bloom, Jacob’s ladder, Spring Beauty, and Blue and Yellow violets. The Pawpaw trees are ready to burst into bloom, as are the Buckeye trees. The most exciting discovery was in our tree line along the creek! My Eastern Redbud tree finally decided to bloom this year!
What do you know about Mayapples? They are a spring flowering plant of rich woods and shady clearing, sometimes called the Mandrake. The common name “Mayapple” refers to its blooming time. The other common name comes from the mistaken belief that the Mayapple’s roots appear similar to the roots of the Mandrake, a European Plant. Mayapple leaves, stems and roots are toxic. However, in summer the large lemon-shaped berries are edible. The blooming of this plant has been used as an indicator of when to start looking for the elusive Morel mushroom.
Stan Tekiela’s book, Wildflowers of Ohio, provides the following information about Mayapples: Family: Barberry, Size: 12 – 18 inches, Flower: single, nodding, waxy white flower with 6-9 petals, 1-2 inches wide; each flower is on a thin ascending stalk rising from a crotch between the 2 leaves, Leaf: set of 2 deeply lobed leaves, 12-15 inches across; each leaf has up to 5 lobes and stands well above the flower, Bloom: spring, Cycle/Origin: perennial, native, Habitat: wet, moist woods, shady meadows, and Range: throughout Ohio.
I hope to take another walk before they start planting the fields. Maybe I will find some mushrooms this time and discover new blooming wildflowers as well!
Those darned dandelions are in full bloom in our front lawn! Are yours?
About the MGV Program in Ohio
The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local OSU Extension county office. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must!
Working with county Extension personnel, Master Gardener Volunteers provide educational services to their communities such as: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticultural activities.
You can find out more about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program at https://mastergardener.osu.edu/home and find their social media posts at the buttons to the right.