Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial wildflower is 3-10" tall, consisting of one or more stems with alternate leaves and compound umbels of flowers. The light green to reddish brown stems are stout, longitudinal ridged, and glabrous; sometimes they are erect, but more often sprawl across the ground. The leaves are up to 5" long and 3" across; they are ternately compound (typically divided into 3 leaflets). Each leaflet is irregularly cleft into about 3 narrow lobes; these lobes are oblong, elliptic-oblong, or narrowly oblanceolate and their margins lack teeth. The blades of the leaves (i.e., their leaflets) are light to medium green and glabrous, while their long petioles are sheathed at the base. The stems terminate in compound umbels of white flowers. Each compound umbel consists of 1-4 umbellets, while each umbellet has 1-6 flowers. The flowers of each umbellet are closely bunched together because their pedicels are quite short. At the base of each umbellet, there is a small leafy bract. Each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 narrow white petals, 5 stamens, a divided white style, and no sepals. The anthers of the stamens are initially dark red, but they soon turn black. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-spring and lasts about 1 month. Each flower is replaced by a slightly flattened globoid fruit (a schizocarp) that contains a single seed. The root system consists of a corm with fibrous roots. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself. Occasionally, it forms loose colonies of plants.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments

This is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in our deciduous woodlands. Because of its small flowers and low growth habit, it is rather easy to overlook. Also, when observed from a distance, Harbinger-of-Spring can be confused with other wildflowers with small white flowers. Another common name is 'Pepper-and-Salt Plant,' which refers to the anthers of the flowers (after they have become black) and the bright white petals. This wildflower is fairly distinctive because of its period of early bloom, stout stems, oddly colored anthers, and tight umbellets of flowers with narrow white petals.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Harbinger-of-Spring has a scattered distribution throughout most of Illinois, but it is absent from the NW-quadrant of the state (see Distribution Map). It is occasional in some woodlands, but mysteriously absent from many others. Habitats include rich mesic woodlands with deciduous trees, wooded areas at the base of bluffs, rocky bluffs, and gentle wooded slopes along rivers. This wildflower is normally found in high quality deciduous woodlands.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Erigenia bulbosa (Michx.) Nutt.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 1.0 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Harbinger-of-Spring has a scattered distribution throughout most of Illinois, but it is absent from the NW-quadrant of the state (see Distribution Map). It is occasional in some woodlands, but mysteriously absent from many others. Habitats include rich mesic woodlands with deciduous trees, wooded areas at the base of bluffs, rocky bluffs, and gentle wooded slopes along rivers. This wildflower is normally found in high quality deciduous woodlands.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Harbinger-of-Spring in Illinois

Erigenia bulbosa (Harbinger-of-Spring)
(Honeybees suck nectar & collect pollen, flies suck nectar or feed on pollen, while other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Krombein et al. and Graenicher as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq (Rb, Gr); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus vagans sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn, Ceratina dupla dupla sn fq; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia atriventris sn, Osmia lignaria lignaria sn, Osmia pumila sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea, Augochlorella persimilis sn (Gr), Augochlorella striata, Augochloropsis metallica metallica, Halictus confusus sn (Rb, Gr), Halictus rubicunda, Lasioglossum forbesii, Lasioglossum foxii, Lasioglossum imitatus, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus, Lasioglossum versatus; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis fq; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena andrenoides andrenoides, Andrena arabis (Kr), Andrena carlini fq icp, Andrena erigeniae fq, Andrena erythronii, Andrena forbesii, Andrena mariae, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata, Andrena nigrae (Kr), Andena nuda, Andrena rugosa fq icp, Andrena salictaria, Andrena sayi

Wasps
Chrysididae: Chrysura pacifica

Flies
Tipulidae: Limonia canadensis; Stratiomyidae: Odontomyia pubescens; Syrphidae: Brachypalpus oarus, Cheilosia capillata, Eristalis dimidiatus fq, Eristalis stipator, Eupeodes americanus, Helophilus fasciatus, Platycheirus hyperboreus, Platycheirus obscurus fq, Syritta pipiens, Toxomerus geminatus, Toxomerus marginatus; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major; Tachinidae: Chetogena claripennis, Epalpus signifer, Gonia capitata fq (Rb, Gr), Siphona geniculata (Gr); Sarcophagidae: Ravinia derelicta; Calliphoridae: Cynomya cadaverina, Lucilia illustris (Gr), Phormia regina, Pollenia rudis (Gr); Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina (Rb, Gr); Anthomyiidae: Delia platura, Leucophora unistriata; Fanniidae: Fannia manicata; Lonchaeidae: Dasiops latifrons, Earomyia aberrans, Lonchaea polita (Gr); Scathophagidae: Scathophaga furcata (Rb, Gr); Chloropidae: Apallates coxendix, Elachiptera costata

Butterflies
Pieridae: Pontia protodice

Moths
Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera

Beetles
Chrysomelidae: Acalymma vittata; Oedemeridae: Asclera ruficollis

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Faunal Associations

The flowers attract primarily small to medium-size bees and miscellaneous flies. Bee visitors include Little Carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), Mason bees (Osmia spp.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), and Halictid bees (Lasioglossum spp., Halictus spp., etc.). Fly visitors include Calliphorid flies, Anthomyiid flies, Frit flies (Chloropidae), Lance flies (Lonchaeidae), and flower flies (Syrphidae). These insects seek primarily nectar from the flowers.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Erigenia bulbosa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Some dappled sunlight is required during the spring, otherwise shade is tolerated. Moist to mesic conditions and a rich loamy soil with some rotting organic matter are preferred. Most vegetative growth and development occurs during the spring.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Erigenia bulbosa

Erigenia bulbosa, also known as harbinger of spring or pepper and salt, is a perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae). E. bulbosa is the only species in the genus Erigenia (Nutt.). This plant is known as harbinger of spring because it is one of the earliest blooming native wildflowers of rich forests in the mid-latitude United States. It is found as far north as central New York and southern Wisconsin, west to the western Ozarks, and south to central Alabama.[1] It is also found in extreme southern Ontario.Throughout most of its range it blooms from late February through early April. It is a small spring ephemeral reaching only 5-15 cm tall when in flower, and slightly larger afterwards. Each spherical bulb gives rise to a single purplish stem, which terminates in an umbel. The flowers have white petals and large dark-reddish anthers. The teardrop shaped petals are 3-4 millimeters long, widely spaced and do not touch each other. As is characteristic of the carrot family, the leaves of this plant are sheathed at the base and pinnately divided into many small sections.

Contents

Ecology

This plant is an occasional in rich hardwood forests of eastern North America. Its typical associates include spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), and cut-leaf tooth wort (Cardamine laciniata). All of these early spring blooming plants are pollinated by solitary bees, and to a lesser extent, flies and honey bees. E. bulbosa has a small daily accumulation of nectar per flower (7–38 µg sugar/flower), but the presence of numerous, closely arranged, simultaneously blooming flowers in the umbel may increase the overall nectar incentive for the pollinators.[2] The nectar produced by E. bulbosa only contains the sugar fructose.[3]

E. bulbosa does not form vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal associations with fungi, in contrast to most plants. [4]

These plants are protected in New York and Wisconsin as state endangered plants, and in Pennsylvania as threatened.

Uses

The bulb is edible both cooked and raw.[5] The Cherokee were known to chew this plant as medicine for toothaches; it is unknown what parts of plant they chewed.[6] This plant is sometimes used in native wildflower gardens throughout its range.

Gallery

References

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!