Friday, March 9, 2012

Signs of Spring

The weather the past few weeks has been pretty poor for sap flow (mostly too warm at night), and even the good days, with nights in the teens and sunny days with temperatures well above freezing, have produced mediocre sap runs. There has been nothing even approaching the one-gallon-per-tap days that were pretty frequent last year. I've gotten a few cups of maple syrup by boiling down what little the trees have produced, but it's going to be a crumby year for sugaring.

The Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) has been up and blooming for a while now, in low soggy places in the neighborhood woods. Symplocarpus is always the first native plant to show signs of activity in late winter; the inflorescences famously produce their own internal heat, and sometimes melt their way up through a fair amount of ice and snow. It's a member of the family Araceae, like the Titan Arum, another "warm-blooded" plant. This photo was taken on leap day, when we had a little slushy snow.

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