“Early Cohosh Blossoms”
“The urgency to reproduce is everywhere. Early plants forgo their leaves so they can be the first to be pollinated, flowering at all costs.” – Ed Lehming
I have noticed this over the past many years and it dawned on me out of the blue. Every form of life, no matter how miniscule, is driven by the need to reproduce. There are so many spring flowers that do this. The first to bloom in my area is Coltsfoot. It puts up it’s bright pollen rich blossoms weeks before other spring flowers. In fact, I use it as my signal that other flowers will be blooming soon.
The more I observe these local wildflowers, the more it makes sense. There are rugged-looking flowers, like the Coltsfoot that immediately seem suited to this early spring blooming, with their short, thick stems. And, are others, like Sharp Lobed Hepatica that are seemingly more delicate, yet they are protected by fine hairs that shield tender stems from cold spring temperatures. Others, like Carolina Spring Beauties, close their small flowers completely on dull or cool days to protect their reproductive organs. Then there is Blue Cohosh, which, if you are not familiar with it, is has a deep purple/blue colour that makes it difficult to spot easily. The flowers are also very small and not obvious, also because of the plant’s unique colouring.
Once I discovered these beautiful early bloomers they became part of my regular photographic subjects. The flowers themselves are almost alien looking with their thick and gelatinous looking ovaries. I’m usually photographing them once the plant is about 20 centimeters tall and leafed out, mostly because it is difficult to find thill them, again because of its colour.
This year however, I noticed several plants growing near trilliums that I was photographing. These plants were just emerged and only a few centimeters tall, yet the flowers where fully formed and attracting many small spring flies. The specimen that I concentrated on for this image had a few freshly formed leaves bt already had three blossoms and more at the ready. Already competing with other ephemerals for pollinators.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/14, ISO 800