Spring in southern Indiana is a cacophony of overload for the senses. As an artist, I’m naturally attracted to the visual of the changing season. From the pale greens of new shoots and leaves to the endless variety of flowers. Something new is blooming every week. And sounds add to the wallpaper of the experience as I presented the cheerful house wren in a recent post.
One thing that I haven’t touched on are the beautiful scents that waft through the air. Yes, there are plenty of floral perfumes from cultivated plants, but today I want to show you three wildflowers with really strong scents.
The first is the multi flora rose. First introduced from Asia as a soil erosion remedy, it quickly got out of hand and is truly a noxious weed. So difficult to get rid of. However, for a few short weeks in spring, the scent of this flower is almost overpowering in the woods and ravines. It’s only redeeming quality in my opinion.
Blooming right on the heels of the multi flora rose is the wild honeysuckle vine. I’m not sure if this species was introduced but is is definitely invasive. Around here we have the variety with white blossoms which fade to a creamy yellow as they die. Great food for hummingbirds, they unfortunately tend to strangle many trees and bushes. If you’ve ever seen a walking stick with a spiral design, it was naturally created by the honeysuckle vine. Its perfume is so strong as to be almost nauseating.
Following on the heels of the honeysuckle vine is the common boxwood. This shrubby bush is semi-evergreen in this area. It is an under story plant and likes the shade of larger trees. There are many varieties of this plant but around here it has smallish white flowers in little groups which look a lot like a small honeysuckle blossom. Again, the perfume is pleasant and not as overpowering as the first two plants.
For people with allergies, the Ohio River Valley is probably not the most pleasant place to live, but the wildflowers certainly put on a show, both in blooms and scents.