All during the fall and winter I've been watching a patch of fifteen putty root basal leaves on one of the Jones Mountain trails. These odd crinkly, dry-looking, winter-surviving leaves are the leaves of the elusive and very picky orchid, Aplectrum hyemale. I've been searching for one of these orchids for years to no avail, but this winter's flourishing crop of basal leaves gave me hope.
When I passed the leaves this morning I noticed they were beginning to deteriorate, so I crouched down near the ground and noticed what I thought was a mushroom. Close observation revealed that the tan shoot was attached to the stem of a basal leaf. An orchid was coming! I then saw more at the bases of six more of the fifteen leaves. Check out this link http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/putty_root.html for much more info. I'll be visiting and reporting every day until the seed pods form.
The morning's other wonders were the yellow celandine blooming in my front garden as well as a flying wild turkey. I love yellow celandine for their golden sap, which was used as a substitute for gold in low budget Medieval manuscript painting. I used sap from the stems to paint the yellow flowers.