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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lovely Milkmaids are beginning to bloom on the forest floor

Since Rick and I found Trilliums blooming recently it shouldn't be surprising to also find the first Milkmaids, Cardamine californica. They belong to the mustard family. Cardamine means "strengthen the heart" from its reputed medicinal qualities. The flowers are said to be edible, with a peppery taste. But why pick these delicate beauties when we can enjoy them for weeks in the forest? These wildflowers are California natives, just like me.

 Huckleberry, our golden retriever, must have been checking out this wildflower as his paw is in the photo below. This plant is unusual in that it has two types of leaves - the oval one, which appears first and then the flower stalk with the slender long leaves. The oval leaf is a short distance from the flower stalk. You can see this in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo below. The flowers are just about ready to open.

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