The wooded hillside in April is a flower garden. Its loose rich soil is composed of decayed leaf mold made up of generations of dead leaves and sticks; of disintegrated rocks and sand, of water and chemicals all unified by the action of freezing and thawing, raining and drying, sunshine and light breezes. In this loose soil beneath the oaks and pawpaws and wild cherries, the flowers of early spring push through easily and bloom in a hurry after the first call of growth. Most of the earliest grow from roots stored with food, or from bulbs or corms. They are ready to grow when the time is right.
Isopyrum biternatum (Raf.) T. & G.
But the small plants of false rue-anemones are unbelievably hardy. They have a thin, fibrous root not far beneath the surface of the ground, not a large enough root to provide much food for the growing plant. The beds of anemones, however, often have green leaves all winter. The small, thin, dark green leaflets on low stems usually stand all winter long without visible growth, and in April send out new leaves and tiny pearl-like buds and dancing white flowers.
The anemone beds then are white with bloom - they are among the most lightly balanced of flowers. The slightest breath of a breeze sets them to quivering, their smooth, thin, compound leaves to fluttering. False rue-anemones are part of that "snow" which covers the springtime woods with a blanket of white.