By now spring is popping up all over but one of my favorite places to find spring is on walks in our woodlands. The Cape doesn’t have a lot of deep woods but the woodlands we do have can offer many wonderful gifts in the early spring.
Teaberry, also called winterberry, is common here and can always be identified by its sturdy, shiny leaves and its distinctive minty scent. At this time of year we may still find some red berries that made it through the winter but in many areas these little plants will have been stripped clean of their berries by winter birds and small mammals.
Pipsissewa, also called spotted or striped wintergreen, depending on who you’re talking with, is another fairly common woodland plant. It will bloom a little later in the spring but you can find stands of these elegant little plants in many of our conservation areas.
Princess pine is another plant to look for on the forest floor. It actually grows in colonies, with roots extending and spreading out all over the place, but all the plants are attached and part of each other, not separate.
All these plants were discovered and photographed on a short walk in the same wooded area on the Upper Cape. Not all woodlands will have the same abundance of plants on the forest floor but they are worth taking a walk and looking for this spring.