By Thomas W. Gorman
In New Jersey, we are fortunate to have an amazing variety of habitat that, when combined with the diversity of four seasons, brings about numerous botanical features for us to enjoy and appreciate year round.
We are now well into spring time and our habitats are in the initial stages of new growth. Numerous botanical features are visible once again. The simple differences, such as new buds appearing on trees, or new short-lived ground-level plants are all good indicators of life beginning anew.
During some recent hikes in northern New Jersey, it has been exciting to come across many small ground cover types of plants, which seem to have their special place in the environment. Stumbling across small patches of Wild Violets or Princess Pine ground cover are just a few simple instances indicating that the environment in which they are found provide a suitable growing habitat for their survival. Other perennial plants, such as the Wild Iris, will soon be in bloom, either individually or in small groups, in places such as the Great Swamp NWR. These beautiful plants will also provide a “splash” of color amongst a field of greens and tan grasses.
I always seem to come across various species’ which I am unable to identify, but these unfamiliar species are beautiful in their own way. For example, I recently took macro photographs of what I initially assumed was a “basic” Dandelion plant. The small plant had numerous yellow flowers with flat petals that just did not look quite right to me. After researching many online databases, I was happy to find out that the plant was something called Coltsfoot, a species that is quite similar to the Dandelion.
If interested, the link following has a listing of most of the wild flowers found throughout New Jersey: uswildflowers.com/wfquery.php?State=NJ