April 24, 2014

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The magic of rain

By Kylee Baumlee

When spring comes, one of the things I look forward to is walking through the woods to see the ephemerals as they come to life after the long winter. The spring rains and warmer temperatures are triggers for them to break dormancy.

They’re called ephemerals because the word describes something that lasts a very short time. Spring flowers such as Dutchman’s breeches and trillium are spring-only plants. Once they grow and bloom, they don’t stick around for the heat of summer; you won’t see them again until the following spring. But these aren’t the only plants that can go dormant in summer.

This year, due to the drought, we’re seeing brown leaves and plants disappearing altogether, leading us to believe that they’re dead. But don’t give up on them just yet! One of the coping mechanisms of plants is to go dormant. There’s no better example of this than the grass in our lawns. While it’s true that this year some grass will die due to the lack of rain and the sustained high temperatures, much of it will come back once the rain starts again.