NCCulture Kids
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NCCulture Kids

Medoc Mountain State Park: Wildflowers

Medoc Mountain State Park is home to many kinds of wildflowers throughout the year, usually from February until November. But it’s early spring that has some special species.

Later in the spring and summer, the trees shade the forest floor. So before that happens, spring forest wildflowers take advantage of the sunshine. Later in the year there is too much competition for sunlight for them to grow. Most are perennials meaning they come back for several years. They are still alive, but they survive much of the year with underground structures. Some have underground bulbs, like an onion. Others have tubers attached to their roots, like potatoes.

Bees and some beetles will visit them to collect their pollen for food. When doing this, the pollinators also move pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another, allowing it to produce seeds.

Some of our wildflowers like blood root and the trout lily have a symbiotic relationship with ants. Ants carry seeds away to their colonies underground. There’s a fleshy nutrient-rich covering on the seed that the ants eat. It’s kind-of-like the frosting on a cupcake. The ants don’t eat the seed itself, in fact they toss it aside in a trash heap that has the perfect conditions for the new seed to sprout. So the flower and ant both benefit.

Student Resources:

Discover More (reading page) — Wildflowers
Glossary — Wildflowers
Explore Outdoors — Wildflowers

Medoc Mountain video and student resources are correlated with the following North Carolina Standards:

3.L.2 Understand how plants survive in their environments.

3.E.1.2 Recognize that changes in the length and direction of an object’s shadow indicate the apparent changing position of the Sun during the day although the patterns of the stars in the sky, to include the Sun, stay the same.

4.P.3 Recognize that energy takes various forms that may be grouped based on their interaction with matter

5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.

5.E.1 Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and time.

5.P.2.1 Explain how the sun’s energy impacts the processes of the water cycle (including, evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation and runoff)

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