In late April on a sunny day in western Pennsylvania you'll find the forest floor carpeted with small pale pink flowers.
The flowers are actually white with tiny pink veins that guide insects to the center, "Follow this road to the nectar."
These are Spring Beauties, a light sensitive flower in the Purslane family that doesn't open unless the sun comes out. Needless to say, with all the rain these 1/2" flowers haven't had much "face time" lately.
There are two kinds of Spring Beauty in our area. The most common species is called simply Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) and has thin ribbon-like leaves. It's quite easy to find in moist woods.
Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana), pictured above, has wide oval leaves and is rare in western Pennsylvania. The leaves are the clue. The flowers are the same on both.
On the next sunny day -- perhaps tomorrow -- take a look in the woods for the beauties of spring.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)