SULPHUR, Okla. (KFOR) – As the morning mists clear Veterans Lake and birds shake the night from their feathers, the first wildflowers of spring are still showing their colors at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
“Sun, water, rain, all those things flowers love,” mentions Park Guide Julie Hoffman. “So they’re thriving.”
She’s has been walking the paths here for the past 15 years, stopping every time she sees a blooming plant to identify it and mark its location in her memory.
The first blooms come in late March, and show primarily yellow like the morning sun.
False dandelion, Missouri Primrose, Ingleman’s Daisy, and Coreopsis are still blooming in early May.
“We have a nice diversity,” says Hoffman. “You’re going to get 25-30 different varieties up close and personal.”
Along roadside banks, and, especially, in areas recently burned, wildflowers bloom among limestone outcroppings.
The Sensitive Briar is only now showing purple blooms.
Wild Indigo guards its pollen treasures so tightly only bumblebees are strong enough to open them.
Coral Honeysuckle nectar is buried deep inside their crimson flowers.
Honeybees take to the more easily obtained pollen from False Indigo instead.
Hoffman suggests, “If we could just leave things a little more wooly and wild, that would protect our little six-legged friends, and we’d all be a whole lot happier.”
Hoffman invites park guests to come along on ‘Wildflower Walks’ several times each spring to see flowers up close, and to witness little miracles impossible to see from a speeding car.
Julie bends down and points out a dense web covered in dew.
“That’s a little grass spider,” she says. “He just went into his den. Looks like he already caught his breakfast.”
The Prickly Pear, Choke Weed, Yucca, and Wavy Lace Thistle are late bloomers in this thin limestone topsoil.
They’re still to come on these refreshing morning walks when the sun is just coming up and spring is still showing off.
For information on upcoming Wildflower Walks or other events at the recreation area, go to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Facebook page.