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INTEREST IN WILDFLOWERS BLOOMS

By Gary Fallesen, Staff writer of Democrat and Chronicle
We are standing in the epic-center of the large-flowered trillium. Carol Southby is telling me about this "showy" wildflower and how you might see big patches of the white trilliums along the Thruway. "People think of it as a common flower," Southby explains. "It's not."
Locally, though, the large-flowered trillium is abundant. A hidden gem in our own back yards.
"A lot of people just see green," Southby says, when asked if she thinks we are guilty of overlooking the beauty of wildflowers hereabouts. "They don't realize what diversity there is here. In Mendon Ponds Park alone there are 1,000 species of plants. In the state, there's 3,000 species. So one-third of them are in Mendon Ponds Park."
Southby, a British native who lives in Penfield and is passionate about wildflowers, butterflies and birds, pauses. "There's only 1,800 (plant) species in all of Britain," she says by way of comparing what we have here.
We walk through a local park, Southby pointing out something new every few steps.
"Things are growing and flowering early and fast in this lovely weather," she says.
The woodlands are alive with color. Soon, many of these wildflowers will be turning to seed. Then, long after the canopy has enveloped the woodlands, the fields and hillsides will spring into action.
Wildflowers have long colored my life. I have been blessed to step into mountains in various parts of the world at just the right time for spring flowering. But I am ignorant about names of species. I usually just enjoy viewing the many and varied flowers I see. Read more about the surging interest in wild flowers...
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