February Flora Watch
This is a yellow crocus blooming in front of my boyfriend’s house. I planted a set of these in fall 2007 and adore them. Even when the brief flowers wither, the slender leaves persist like a delicate grass.Crocus species are in the iris family are not true bulbs–they overwinter as a specialized stem called a [corm]. The stigma (female reproductive structure) of Crocus sativus is dried to become the coveted spice saffron.
Carolina yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a climbing vine that is also the state flower of South Carolina. Its yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are fragrant and abundant, contrasting with the slightly glossy, dark green leaves. Once you know what it is, you’ll see it everywhere (and I hope you will). This clump was planted near the corner of North and Glenwood Streets in downtown Raleigh. There’s also a really stunning planting of jessamine on the arbor in front of Withers Hall on the N.C. State campus.
The flowering cherries/almonds/apricots (Prunus species) are coming out! Most of the flowering apricots (Prunus mume) just finished their flowering cycle so I hope to have some pictures of their fruit set later in the season. Either way, I saw some beautiful cherry trees (either Prunus campanulata ‘Okame’ or Prunus ‘First Lady’) when I was in Cameron Village Tuesday. The pears, peaches, and crabapples should start showing signs of flower soon as well. I can’t wait for the kwanzan cherry (Prunus serrulata) my boyfriend and I planted together to come into its own in a few months.