Seen This Week

Woodland crocus blooming in the grass on Neville Ave, 1 March 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

2 March 2024

Despite a few cold snaps, this winter has been quite warm in Pittsburgh and the plants are responding. During the past ten days I’ve found:

  • Woodland crocuses (Crocus tommasinianus) blooming in the grass on Neville Avenue and at Schenley Park,
  • Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) at North Park,
  • Flowering cherry trees blooming at Carnegie Museum.
Skunk cabbage at North Park, 23 Feb 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)
Flowering cherry at Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, 29 Feb 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Despite these signs of spring the overall look of the land is brown. Last Sunday, 25 Feb, I took a walk with the Botanical Society of Western PA at Hays Woods where I learned a new grass.

Botanical Society walk at Hays Woods, 25 Feb 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Grease grass or purpletop (Tridens flavus) is a native bunchgrass whose seeds are oily, hence the grease name. Claire Staples holds it against a dark background so we can see the seeds.

Greasy grass or purpletop, Tridens flavus, held by Mark Bowers and Claire Staples at Hays Woods, 25 Feb 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

On Thursday I found several species of honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.) leafing out in Schenley Park.

Honeysuckle leaf-out in Schenley Park, 29 Feb 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Honeysuckle leafout is an spring indicator on the National Phenology Network (USA NPN) so I wondered about the status of spring elsewhere. On 26 February USA NPN wrote:

How does this spring compare to “normal”?
After a slow start to spring in Florida and parts of the Southern Great Plains, spring is spreading more quickly now across the country. Albuquerque, NM is a week early, St. Louis, MO is 2 weeks early, and parts of Washington, D.C. are 22 days early compared to a long-term average of 1991-2020.

USA National Phenology Network, Status of Spring on 26 Feb 2024

Yikes! Spring is running more than 3 weeks early in Washington, DC!

Spring is early here, too. Hang onto your hats, Pittsburgh! It’s time to get outdoors.

2 thoughts on “Seen This Week

  1. Punxsutawney Phil called it. I, too, have seen spring flowers throughout my South Hills neighborhood. I spotted snowdrops blooming on Feb. 12th, crocus on Feb. 21st, and daffodils on Feb. 27th. I guess tulips will be blooming by Easter.
    Thanks for sharing your photos.

  2. These photos are beautiful! I saw forsythia yesterday (March 6). We shall see what the weekend does. I’ve heard a few whisperings about snow . . . I hope not!

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