Saturday, May 07, 2011

South of Iowa under a redbud attack

If America ever were attacked by redbuds, the result would be a nationwide explosion of pink that looks something like Red Haw State Park this week. It's beautiful! Only someone as insensitive as my friend Al would suggest that the whole place looks like a giant can of pink frosting had exploded.

This is Cercis Canadensis, or Eastern Redbud, which in Iowa truly flourishes only in a narrow band across the southern part of the state. At Red Haw, the little trees --- unprepossessing much of the year --- fringe the lake, line the roads, fill the understory of woodland areas and appear alone or in groups along all the trails. It's quite a show.

If you look at a distribution map, you'll see that redbuds blanket much of the eastern United States from the southern tip of Lake Michigan to north Florida, cover the lower Midwest into Louisiana and spread west of the Missouri  into eastern Kansas, a majority of Oklahoma (where redbud is the state tree) and east Texas.

The trees are in full bloom this weekend, but most likely the show will end during the next week as blossoms drop. So it's a good time to take a drive or a walk through the park.

Because of all the rain we've had, there are boggy spots in some of the lakeside trails. I didn't even attempt to cross a low area southeast of the campground Friday, but all the other low spots are crossable providing you're wearing sturdy shoes and don't mind a little mud. Just remember to tread on tufts of grass and keep moving.

I ran into one large family on the trail east of the southwest inlet sort of marooned on a high spot between two small bogs. I told them in was clear hiking once they crossed the next little stretch of mud, so hope they made it. All the east side trails are high and dry.

If you're looking for something else to do today, the Lucas County Arts Council's National Train Day observance continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freight House (and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday). Admission is free.

Seems to me I signed up to work there this morning, so I guess I'd better go up and find out for sure.

1 comment:

Ed said...

My highlight every spring are morel mushrooms but a close second are watching the redbuds bloom. I have two of them in my yard and they do quite nice.