It is mid-May when the Ellisia blooms. Mid-May. and the warbler migration is passing its peak. There already are young robins out of the April nests, and orioles are building in the elms. High spring, almost the end of May, almost June. For the first time in many months the woods are deeply shaded. This discourages the growth of many plants, but a few, like the little Ellisia, seem not to require much sunlight.
Ellisia nyctelea L.
May - June Deep woods.
Now when the once need floor of the woods grows dense with greenery, there come the little tattered, weak-kneed plants of the Ellisia, or nyctelea. Insignificant, inconspicuous, not a1 all exciting, the little Ellisia spreads its watery Little, deeply cut leaves with their widely scattered long hairs and weak, watery stems. It is prostrate on the ground or loans for support against sturdier plants, and opens a few Little buds.
The flowers are palest lavender-pink or white with five petals, and remind one somewhat of the lesser wild geraniums. The calyx is large and almost engulfs the flower. When this is past and the seed Forms, the calyx remains as a saucer beneath the double green fruit. This is the little "wild tomato" which gives the Ellisia its commonest name. The whole plant, perhaps, might be compared with the appearance of a weak tomato seedling in despair of its Life.