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Sweet Smelling Early Blooms

The big spring green up is just a couple of weeks away…

Our forests and woodlands have rested and are ready to wake up from their deep sleep, explode back to life, and treat us to the sweet smells of the new season.

Among these smells are some of the blooming flowers that burst forth in late April and early May.  There are two species that come to mind that put out a light, but distinctive sweet perfume:

Sweet white violets (Viola blanda) and wild plum (Prunus Americana).

Sweet white violet

Viola blanda is a one of a handful of small white violets that are native to Minnesota. It grows in cooler, shady woods in most of northern and eastern part of the state. Its flowers are 5 -petaled, white, and about a half inch wide with deep purple lines on the side and lower petals. The top two petals curve backwards and differentiates it from other white violets. The flowers open right about the time trees are about to pop open their leaf buds. It is worth it to get down on your hands and knees to take a sniff of this early spring bloomer.

American plum

American plum is a generally a small tree that tends to grow in thickets along woodland edges, fields and lakeshores. American plum is common throughout the state, save for the arrowhead in the northeast. American plum’s close cousin, Canada plum (Prunus nigra), grows mostly in the northern half of the state and generally likes to grow in open woods/ forest edges without the tendency to grow in huge thickets. Profuse blooms cover these trees in early spring as the leaves are coming out.

Standing alone, plums put out plenty of fragrance, but the sheer volume of blooms from all the individual trees in a thicket can perfume the air for what seems like miles. Elm creek park reserve, in the Champlin area, is an excellent spot to see and smell the plums trees that line the 30+ miles of bike trails that wind through the park.

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