A Walk in Fern Bluff Park
March 10-11, 2001
Page 6
Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

The leaves (above) look like diminutive carrot tops, which is not too surprising since both plants are members of the Carrot Family (Umbelliferae). This appears to be Tainturier's Chervil (Chaerophyllum tainturieri). Although the leaves green up quickly, and are usually visible even in the deadest dead of winter, the white flowers shown here have only recently begun to peep out of their buds.

 

This plant, which reportedly has been used as a pot-herb in Europe for centuries, is not native to this area or to North America. It was probably brought to this continent by Spanish missionaries (who called it alfilerillo) in the 18th century.

Next: PAGE 7...

Bugsinthenews ... Blue Flower Gallery ... White Flower Gallery ... Yellow Flower Gallery

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

One of the first green plants to grace Fern Bluff Park after the freezes of Winter have subsided (not that we won't get at least one more freeze this season) is shown in the photo at upper left. 

The leaves are twice-pinnate, triangular in general outline, and generally glabrous (lacking conspicuous hairs) as can be seen in the close-up image above. Each leaf has tiny, lance-like leaflets. The flowers are few, in small umbells (all the flower stems in the group arise from a single leaf axis, or the central stem of the plant, producing an umbrella-shaped structure).

In the southwest sector of Fern Bluff Park were found several of the flowers shown at left and below. This is the Pin Clover, also known as Redstem Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium), of the Geranium Family (Geraniaceae). The flower is small, measuring from 3/16 to 1/4" wide, with a lavender coloration and five petals. The petals are delicate, like those found on most roses. Note the pubescence (hairs) of the stem, buds and leaves. The leaves are finely divided, either once- or twice-pinnately compound and fern-like, appearing at first glance to be much like those of the chervil discussed above. 

The long, needle-like structures shown at left are style columns that develop as the seed matures. The style of a flower is that portion of the pistil (the seed-producing organ) between the stigma (at the tip) and the ovary (at the base). The flower at upper left has a juvenile style column visible at its center. This will become more and more elongated as the petals wither and fall away, until it finally resembles the columns shown in the photo. Later, when the seeds are fully ripened, the style column will open up as the outer case spirals away from the central axis, exposing the seeds. Notice that the vertical margin that separates the various sections of the style case can be seen to spiral around the case in the photo.