I know we’re way past bluebells in terms of seasonal progression, but I’m still looking over the many wildflower photos I took earlier this spring with the idea of finally identifying some of the unknowns.
One of the earliest that stumped me were Virginia Bluebells. I couldn’t ID them from any of my wildflower guides because the buds were still tightly closed when I first found them. Despite what you all said here, I found it hard to imagine that the flowers would change form that much, but sure enough they did.
When I returned two weeks or so later, the plants looked like the bluebells that are in my field guides. So for all of my early confusion with this common wildflower, I don’t think I’ll ever mistake it again, now that I’ve had the chance to watch it as it progresses through its bloom period.
Bluebells go dormant during the heat of summer and I’m watching that happen right out in my own little woodland garden in the backyard; the plants I purchased at the beginning of May are slowly deteriorating as the days grow hot.
Anyway, I found some interesting info about bluebells that you plant geeks might also enjoy:
“Virginia bluebells have two interesting properties that contribute to their success as ephemeral wild flowers. Virginia bluebells form buds that are pink in color due to the anthocyanin (from the Greek anthos meaning flower and kyanos meaning blue) or colored cell sap that they contain. When the flower is ready for pollination, it increases its alkalinity to change the red pigmentation into blue pigmentation, a color that is much more attractive to pollinators. When the flower is pollinated and seed formation begins, it falls to the ground so that subsequent pollinators will only find those that still require their ministrations. The ubiquity of bluebells in their preferred riparian habitat… is testimony to the success of their adaptations to attract insects.”
from the Hiker’s Notebook which looks like a good source of info about things commonly found in the woods. If you look at my photos you can see that progression from pink to pollination-ready blue, as well as the way some of the flowers have already fallen away from the plant.