What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

I always enjoy seeing the New Hampshire hardwood forests “bloom” with the first blush of color from flowering trees and tender new leaves that offer many hues of green. My 3-yr son decided the flowers that fell from our maple trees last week were spiders, with their gangly appearance, as he is always looking for the mobile critters in his nature walks.

Red maple flowers.
Photo by Louis-M Landry

Whether looking for crawling critters or plant life these sunny spring days of May, before the black flies peak, provides a great opportunity to stroll along the trails here in the White Mountains. The early woodland flowering plants can provide even more joy to these hikes, such as red trillium, hobblebush, and trout lily. Some are more inconspicuous but worth the time to scrunch down and take in their dainty flowers. One such low profile plant is the Canada mayflower, which has yet to bloom in my neck of the woods. This plant is one I have been tracking as part of AMC’s Mountain Watch program, a citizen science program where hikers can report what they see in flower along trails. I will confess to being one of AMC’s coordinator of Mountain Watch, but it is hard to call walking along the trails near Pinkham Notch looking at flowers work. Seems more of a perk than work!

You can help us with this kind of “work”. By veiwing our online tutorials or by attending a webinar this Weds May 18th at 7:30 pm (email us to sign up) you can learn more about the why AMC is tracking flowering and fruiting times of mountain plants and how to participate. Your observations, when entered into our online system, will let others know what is blooming in your neck of the woods through our flower map. This new flower map will be accessible to all and displays flower reports from the past week by volunteers and our summer staff. If you logged in as a registered volunteer you will have access to even more map features and plant observations.

Mountain Watch flower hunting can be a family activity or an in depth commitment if you choose to adopt a section of trail or a peak. We have family friendly materials on our web site that are design to introduce the younger kids to the wonders of flowering plants.

Help us mark the map this spring and summer by joining us in our plant observing along the trails.

Finding a "match" using a Canada mayflower picture

Georgia Murray, AMC Staff Scientist