I visited Falls Creek SNA near Scandia on a very pleasant Tuesday afternoon. I had never been to this site before, but hoped to see spring ephemeral wildflowers and maybe skunk cabbage blooms.
The mixed pine-hardwood forest was beautiful in the bright spring sunshine. The only sounds were the birds singing happily and the gurgle of the creek that guided me down in the direction of the St. Croix River. I did indeed find some widlflowers in bloom, including bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) just starting to unfurl it’s leaves, hepatica (Anemone americana), and wild ginger (Asaraum canadense). In a week or two, the display should be even better.
I was pleasantly surprised to find some skunk cabbage, which Jason posted about finding in nearby William O’Brien State Park. The skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) was in low spots in the floodplain of the creek. I was also happy to find yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), which I did not expect to see. The distinctive shiny silver bark really stood out in the bright sunny forest among the oaks and pines. Yellow birch is one of my favorite trees. If you scratch a twig, it is supposed to smell slightly like wintergreen, though I think it smells more like rootbeer.
Photos are posted in the MnNPS Photo Album.