The Blooms of February

I took a quick walk around campus on a warm day this week.  On an old gravel path that’s starting to succumb to nature, a very small plant caught my eye.  In between the clouds drifting by and Red-tailed Hawks distracting my attention, I managed a few shots in the sun.

Notice the small white bi-lobed petals and yellow centers to the flowers.  The name is Draba verna, or Whitlow Grass, a native of Europe and West Asia and in the mustard family.   The listed flowering time is March to May, so it seems to be a couple weeks ahead with this mild winter.

I also stumbled across this yellow Composite on one of the islands in the middle of a parking lot.  Composites, is a familiar name used to describe plant that have flowers that actually have two types of flowers in a single inflorescence.  If you think of a sunflower, the dark center is actually composed of small disk flowers and the yellow ‘petals’ are separate ray flowers.

Unknown Composite

I’m still working on identifying this one.  It looks like it’s blooming although the flowers don’t look completely open.  I would guess that it’s not native.  A lot of these scrubby flowers that grow in disturbed areas don’t originate in Connecticut or even in North America.  It just illustrates how important undisturbed mature habitat is to protect native species.