The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Wood Anemones and Spring Beauty

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1984-2012

Issue: May, 1984

"March winds
and April showers
Bring forth
May flowers."

wildflowerWood Anemones and Spring Beauty. Illustration by Susan M. Thigpen.I'm sure that in just about everybody's childhood memories are ones about May Day celebrations - The May Pole dance, with pastel colored paper streamers braided around it, and lots of flowers for decoration. May seems to be celebrated with flowers, as many flowers whatever their botanical name, have the nick-name of "May Flower".

Even Collier's Encyclopedia had this to say:

"MAYFLOWER, a common name used for plants which bloom in May. In England, it usually means the Hawthorne, often simply called "the May", but is applied also to the cuckooflower and marsh marigold. In New England, it means the Trailing Arbutus and in some Western states, it refers to the hepatica."

In our area of the Blue Ridge, it refers to the Wood Anemone and Spring Beauty.

It's something I never thought about before, but probably every area in America, possibly the world, has a flower they refer to as the "May Flower."

Wood Anemones

These plants have white blooms, tinged pink. The whole plant is about 6 to 8 inches tall. It has clusters of three leaves joined together at a central base on separate stems. It may be seen growing in moist woodsy soil.

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty has dainty little blooms with five petals. The blooms are white with deep pink veins. The leaves of this plant are long and narrow. The whole plant is only about 3 or 4 inches tall.