Springtime in Urbana

Brownfield woods, Urbana, Illinois

photo details: Canon 17-40x wide angle lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 400, 1/30 sec, f/7.1, leaf backlit with handheld 550ex strobe.

9 thoughts on “Springtime in Urbana”

  1. Wow, that’s a good eye you’ve got. Yes, they had a large sugar maple germination 2 years ago that now forms the dominant ground cover.

  2. Henry W. Robison

    Beautiful mayapple blossum photo Alex! These little guys are a sure sign that spring has sprung! As always, I deeply appreciate your beautiful photographs. You surely have the gift my friend.

  3. MrILoveTheAnts

    Mayapples have a very pretty flower, and was something I attempted to grow this year but failed. I comment on the Maple trees there because they look like they are Norway Maples and I recall something about them making to much shade for most of our woodland plants to survive under. Lack of insects nibbling holes in the leaves as well the overall size of them might have something to do with it. I could be wrong though.

  4. They look like our native sugar maple to me, but I’m a little skeptical about the Norway maple thing. Spring wildflowers have adapted to heavy shade by putting on their growth and flowering during the short window before the deciduous canopy foliates. Regardless, I’m not aware of Norway maple having widely escaped cultivation into our woodlands anyway.

  5. James C. Trager

    Norway maple is a significant invader of native woodlands in the US Northeast, Ted, but not so much here in the Midwest, as you say.

    I saw a ground cover of maple seedlings just like this at the Morton Arboretum near Chicago over the weekend — Morton burns its woods every few years, so this is nothing a little prescribed fire through the leaf litter won’t cure.

    Cure, readers may ask? Well, though sugar maple is a native tree, unchecked population growth of this following fire suppression has resulted in significant degradation of biological diversity in native Midwestern, once-oak-dominated woodlands. In Illinois, Missouri and surrounding states, we live in a region where frequent fire (set by native Americans for hunting and ecosystem management) reigned supreme as a shaper of the vegetation for millenia previous to the arrival of Euro-Americans. The complex of plant communities that constituted the native vegetation in the past is now almost lost in its pre-Europeanized form.

  6. James C. Trager

    Just noticed, there is another spring wildflower (in fruit) in the picture, the erstwhile Dentaria laciniata , now properly called Cardamine concatenata, just to the right of the Mayapple.

    Enough of this — I wonder what ants are living around there?

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