SULFUR, Okla. (KFOR) – As morning mists clear Veterans Lake and birds shake the night from their feathers, the first wildflowers of spring are still showing their colors in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
“Sun, water, rain, all those things that flowers love,” says park guide Julie Hoffman. “So they thrive.”
She’s been walking the trails here for 15 years, stopping whenever she sees a flowering plant to identify it and mark its location in her memory.
The first flowers arrive in late March and show mostly yellow like the morning sun.
False dandelion, Missouri primrose, Ingleman’s daisy and coreopsis still bloom in early May.
“We have a nice diversity,” says Hoffman. “You’re going to get 25-30 different varieties up close and personal.”
Along the banks of the roads and, especially, in recently burned areas, wildflowers bloom among the limestone outcrops.
The Sensitive Briar only now shows purple flowers.
Wild Indigo guards its pollen treasures so tightly that only bumblebees are strong enough to open them.
Coral honeysuckle nectar is buried deep within their purple flowers.
Instead, bees turn to the easier-to-obtain False Indigo pollen.
Hoffman suggests, “If we could just leave things a little woolier and wilder, it would protect our little six-legged friends, and we’d all be a lot happier.”
Hoffman invites park visitors to participate in “Wildflower Walks” several times each spring to see flowers up close and to witness small miracles impossible to see from a high-speed car.
Julie bends down and points to a dense, dew-covered web.
“It’s a little grass spider,” she said. “He just entered his lair. Looks like he already had his breakfast.
Prickly pear, chokegrass, yucca and wavy thistle bloom late in this thin calcareous topsoil.
They are yet to come on those refreshing morning walks when the sun is rising and spring is still showing.
For more information on upcoming Wildflower Walks or other recreation area events, go to Chickasaw National Recreation Area Facebook page.
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