Claytonia & Co.

Carol Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast is such a delight to read. Here we learn, for instance, why there can be such color variation in populations of spring beauties (Claytonia virginica), the role of ants in transporting the seeds, and the hundred-plus insects that visit the flowers.

“Selective pressures are working at cross-purposes: in years of high herbivory by slugs (usually years of high rainfall), white flowers are more successful at producing seeds; in years when herbivory is diminished but fungal infection is high, pink flowers are more reproductively successful.”

This is (probably) one of the many Andrena genus mining bees. I don’t know if it’s the famous Andrena erigeniae, the Spring Beauty Miner, which depends exclusively on these flowers to feed its young. I wonder if there are enough of these flowers, scattered infrequently through the cemetery, to appease this specialist.

I’ve been on the look-out for the orange spotting of the leaves that marks the presence of spring beauty rust fungus Puccinia mariae-wilsoniae. None seen so far.

Re-upping this article on what you can do to foster insects. And here’s the Pollinator Pathway site FYI.

The tip jar.

1 Response to “Claytonia & Co.”

  1. 1 Ms. Carol Gracie April 18, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for the mention of the Spring Wildflowers book. Although I enjoy your posts on birds and especially insects, I’m always happy to see some flowers show up. You’re phenologically ahead of us, so I always know what to look for in the next week. Carol


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