We’re finally seeing more signs of spring in the Bangor area. Here are two early spring plants found this week that are often growing along roadsides or other waste places.
Field Horsetail, or Equisetum arvense, are sending up their fertile stems through the soil right now from underground rhizome systems. Horsetails are very old plants - over 136 million years old! The fertile stem arrives first in early spring. The dark brown areas around the stem are whorls of small scale leaves. The cone at the top contains reproductive spores. Green sterile stems with whorls of green branches will grow after the fertile stems have wilted.
Coltsfoot, or Tussilago farfara, was also sighted this week, though the flowers weren't open because of our cloudy weather. This photo was taken last year near the entrance to Central Penjajawoc Preserve. The flowers only open on sunny days, when pollinators (insects) are more likely to be collecting.