Erigenia bulbosa, Harbinger-of Spring is a fitting name for this minuscule plant, it truly is one of the first sprigs out of the ground. This photo, taken at Fowler Woods in the north-most corner of Richland county, shows the rather rubbery looking fern-like leaves. A member of the Parsley family, it has another common name of Salt-and-pepper.
Either way, it is one of the earliest flowers to poke through the cold, damp leaf matter remaining from last fall. A happy sight for flora starved eyes, and quite beautiful on close examination. And I do mean close. This whole plant is barely marks two inches, although they can be a bit taller.
Fowler Woods is managed by Ohio Department of Natural Areas and Preserves and has an easy to access, board-walk through the wet woods. Large communities of Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris and singing spring peeper frogs are certain to greet your early spring visits. There are many interesting plants to be found in this refuge, including the somewhat rare Pumpkin Ash. SHHH, don't tell the emerald ash borers. We would like to keep these!