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Spring is a very exciting time of year, when everything starts waking up from a long winter.

For me, this is like a reunion of old, familiar friends.  I greet each bird species as it returns from southern climes and relish the return of the dawn chorus.  I run around, naming all the plant species as they awaken, blinking fresh green leaves at the sun (I especially enjoy those little baby oak leaves).

Baby burr oak leaves.

But one of the most exciting things about spring is the spring ephemerals.  Spring ephemerals are short-lived understorey herbaceous plants that sprout, flower, and die in the short two weeks before the trees leaf out.  Their goal in life is to specialise on the period of time when it is warm enough to be alive, but when there is still a substantial amount of light hitting the forest floor.

For some reason, I feel an irresistible urge to see each and every species every year.  Because they are so short-lived, I am always frantic during that two-week period.  For these species, if you snooze, you miss your chance to see them for a whole year.

They are lovely, but ephemeral creatures.  Perhaps their fragile short lives make them that much more endearing.  I can’t tell you why I love them so much except that they are precious.

Here are just a couple of photos to whet your appetite.  (If you live in a temperate forest in the northern hemisphere) Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for these ephemeral beauties!

Trillium erectum

Hepatica nobilis

Tussilago farfara (Colt's foot)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger)

Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)

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