Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.


Yard MD: Nature of the Fox Valley pt 6  Plamann Pa...
Yard MD: Nature of the Fox Valley pt 6 Plamann Pa...: Yard MD: Nature of the Fox Valley pt 6 visits Plamann Park, Appleton, home to four seasons of beauty. The early spring wildflower, just weeks away, is one of the best in the area, along with birdwatching, hiking and more. January 12, 2014
Plamann Park is well-known for its spectacular spring wildflower show. Short-lived wildflowers, like this lavender-striped Spring Beauty, put on an explosive show in a few short weeks each spring before the trees leaf out and prevent the sun from reaching the forest floor. / Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

IDENTIFYING THE WILDFLOWERS OF PLAMANN PARK

MayappleIn early spring, the thick stalks of mayapples begin to emerge, spreading their huge umbrella leaves wide and reaching 18 to 24 inches high. The large, waxy flowers can be found beneath the large leaves.

Marsh marigoldGrowing in wet areas of the park, these bright golden harbingers of spring attract the first flying bees and butterflies, blooming in large, colorful masses of bright golden yellow.

Wild geraniumBlooming from late May into August, these delicate, lavender-colored wildflowers are a favorite of many native plant lovers.

Spring beautyGrowing only 4 to 8 inches high, these are among the first wildflowers to bloom in spring, often as early as April. Their delicate, striped flowers rustle with the warm spring winds.

Trout lilyBeautiful, with the classic, reflexed petals found on many lilies, these short-lived spring wildflowers come in snow white or bright yellow. They are called trout lilies because the leaves are mottled with maroon and green, much like a trout’s scales. They also bloom at the time of the trout season opener each year.

Cut-leaf toothwortBeautifully formed, funnel-shaped flowers in white to pale lavender, these plants rise 10 to 12 inches high with heavily textured, fern-like foliage.

TrilliumThe classic native wildflower in pristine white, blushing to rose pink as it begins to fade in June. Clusters of trilliums, with their large, three-part leaves in deep green, rise from the forest floor throughout the park.

HepaticaAnother early bloomer, hepatica blooms in colors ranging from pure white to deep blue violet. Masses of ˝-inch wide flowers that sparkle in the spring sunshine grow on furry stems that protect them from spring frosts.

— Rob Zimmer: 920-419-3734, yardmd@postcrescent.com

NATURE OF THE FOX VALLEY: A SERIES

In this series, Rob Zimmer introduces you to the Fox Valley’s nature centers to showcase the richness and wild heritage found in our back yard. Each of the area nature centers feature habitat and wildlife that separates it from the others. At the same time, these areas complement each other wonderfully, resulting in one of the highest concentrations of public natural areas found anywhere in the state. Follow the series each Tuesday through January.

More

APPLETON — When the early spring sun dances among the ridges and valleys at Plamann Park in Appleton, the wooded slopes and ravines burst with an explosion of spring color.

Newly arrived orioles, gleaming in neon orange and black, cheer joyfully in the treetops. Throngs of brightly colored wood warblers move through the forested slopes, filling the morning air with their piercing songs and calls. Robins, also arriving from the south, join the spring performance, their rich, warbling calls and songs echoing among the trees.

Plamann Park is part of the Outagamie County Park System, covering 257 acres of scenic ravines and hillsides. In addition to its beloved hiking trails that bring visitors up close to many species of increasingly rare spring wildflowers, the park features a swimming lake, children’s farm, disc golf course and other attractions.

More from this series:

Part 1: Heckrodt Wetland Reserve | Part 2: Brillion Marsh | Part 3: Bubolz Nature Preserve | Part 4: WILD Center | Part 5: 1000 Islands Environmental Center

An ephemeral spring

The spring woodlands at Plamann Park are an amazing place to be, filled with the sights and sounds of the fresh new season. One of the last great wildflower preserves located in the Fox Valley, the explosive blooms in the wooded ravines at this county park are an awesome spectacle to behold.

As development and subdivisions continue to swallow up the last remaining forested wood lots surrounding the Fox Cities, areas such as Plamann Park become the last stand for our delicate and ephemeral spring wildflowers.

For much of the year, you wouldn’t even know they were here. But for a few weeks each spring, these seasonal beauties explode into bloom as soon as the sun begins to thaw the wooded slopes. By the beginning of summer, even the foliage of many of these short-lived beauties has faded away.

Forest trails snake along the tops of the ridges and deep into the valleys, with signage helping to identify some of the common spring ephemeral wildflowers found here.

The seasonal beauty of these short-blooming spring flowers comes and goes in just a few short weeks each year during late April to mid-May. As the trees begin to leaf out, the bright spring sun is no longer able to reach the forest floor and the flowers begin to fade away.

Mayapples, with their huge umbrellas of foliage reaching nearly 2 feet high, carpet sections of the hillsides, along with brightly colored violets in blue and yellow, wild geraniums in bright lavender and trilliums, false rue anemone, bloodroot and trout lilies in snow white. Large colonies of yellow trout lilies also can be found dancing across the forest floor, with jack-in-the-pulpits, hepatica and delicate, lavender-striped spring beauties.

Birds on the move

Migrating songbirds arrive at just about the same time as the peak of the spring wildflower show.

Along with warblers and orioles, several species of thrushes move through on their way north. Hermit thrushes, veeries and wood thrushes pause here in the wooded park lands during migration, their chiming calls drifting through the spring forest.

The park also boasts a large grassland area where species of grassland birds such as meadowlark, bobolink, eastern bluebird, as well as several species of sparrows, may be seen throughout the year.

Red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, turkey vulture, American kestrel and bald eagle can often be seen in the forests and grasslands at Plamann Park.

Visit in the evening to hear owls calling to each other among the towering forest trees. The large pine grove at Plamann is a great place to hear calling owls as they hoot and whinny to the coming night. Eastern screech owls, barred owl and great horned owl are frequently heard in the park.

Wild turkey are also abundant, strolling along the trails and through the valleys in search of insects, acorns, hickory nuts and other sources of food.

Throughout the seasons, the grasslands bloom with a variety of colorful wildflowers. Peaking in late summer and early fall, explosive masses of colorful asters, wild sunflowers, goldenrods and more brighten the meadows, attracting many species of butterflies such as monarch, buckeye, sulfurs, red admiral, several skippers, tiger swallowtail, black swallowtail and others.

Whitetail deer are commonly seen at the park as well, allowing visitors to get quite close along the trails.

Large fox squirrels, gray squirrels, as well as feisty red squirrels can be seen foraging and nesting in the forests here.

Browse sandhill crane, prairie chicken, snowy owl, pelican, loon, goose, eagle, whooping crane, tundra swan, heron, turkey, cardinal, hummingbird and other bird photos.

The magnificent maples

A breathtaking tapestry of different shades of gold paint the valleys and slopes within the park as the leaves of the maples, elms, hickories, birches, oaks and more transform with the season.

It is the maples that provide the greatest show, as, late in the season, they transform the hills and valleys with their clear, rich golden color.

The meadows become a sea of billowing milkweed pods as autumn winds set the large, feathery plumes of milkweed seeds adrift across the grasslands.

More In

Don't Miss

Join Our Team!

If you are interested in working for an innovative media company, you can learn more by visiting:

Gannett Careers

Wisconsin Day Trips

See all Day Trip Videoes


A new video will be shared in this series every Thursday

Get Published

Report on your outdoor group's news! Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com's Community Newsroom is a free service provided to clubs, nonprofits, schools, churches, families, scouting groups and civic organizations to publish their news, events and happenings on our website. Wisconsin residents with an interest in the outdoors are invited to write articles that Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com edits and shares with our readers online.

Submit an article today

Blogs