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Hobblebush Flowering

5-17-14 hobblebush flowers 070When scouring the forest floor for spring ephemerals, don’t forget to look up – one of the most dramatic flowers of spring can be found on a woodland shrub called Hobblebush, Celastrina ladon. (The common name comes from the fact that its branches often bend to the ground and become rooted at the tips, making a walk through the wood somewhat treacherous…hence, one of its other common names, “Trip-toe.”) Hobblebush’s flowers are cleverly designed to attract pollinators — the large, showy, white flowers along the margins are actually sterile, their sole purpose being to lure insects, such as the tiny, blue Spring Azure butterfly. The smaller, less conspicuous flowers in the center of the cluster (just starting to open in this photograph) have reproductive parts and are the beneficiaries of visiting pollinators.

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6 responses

  1. Mary

    Hobblebush is a viburnum, Celastrina ladon is the spring azure.

    May 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

  2. Jennifer Peterson

    I think that Celastrina ladon is the pollinator, not the plant.

    May 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

  3. Thanks, Mary! Now I know why I saw an azure near the hobblebushes yesterday!
    I love this blog!

    May 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm

  4. HobblebushMissingLink. The hobblebush in my forested areas is usually much lower and this article clears that up! The flowers are gorgeous! They remind me of mophead hydrangeas.

    May 20, 2014 at 1:51 am

  5. Hiking with Chuck – Stories: Hobblebush, the Missing Link
    The lowly hobblebush is a fascinating plant, for three main reasons, one of which makes it a “missing link.” I’ve always been interested in the natural world, but …

    May 20, 2014 at 1:54 am

    • Sorry this didn’t send in the right order, but Chuck brings up some interesting points.p

      May 20, 2014 at 1:56 am

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