Spring Wildflowers: Ephemeral Beauty with a Purpose

Carol Gracie, Author of Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast

April 2016

Our native spring wildflowers evolved in the once contiguous forests that stretched the length of the East Coast and west to the prairies. Their flowering coincides with increased sunlight and warmth before the forest canopy leafs out, and their associations with the early-flying insects of spring are remarkable. In this talk, Dr. Gracie explores the life cycles of selected species in detail— and why many populations are in a marked decline due to human activity. By understanding their evolutionary relationships to forest habitat, we can better protect these ephemeral beauties on all lands, and integrate them into our woodland gardens.

Carol Gracie is a highly-skilled botanist and photographer who integrates science, culture, and beauty into her teaching about plants. In addition to Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, she has written several field guides and co-authored Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, a guide to over 1,000 species from New England to the midwest. She worked for several decades at the New York Botanical Garden. Her research and botanizing in South and Central America have led to seven tropical plant species and one genus being named for her.