Three snowdropsEven before the snow thaws completely, the snowdrops sprout and dig their way out of the snow. Soon, the snow is gone and the forest comes to life, with many, many snowdrops popping out from under the dry leaves. They are fading fast and, in two weeks, their flowers are gone - but that was only the beginning. So many flowers are about to bloom inside the dark forest! Well, actually it's not so dark inside, because the trees don't have leaves yet, but since the sun is hiding behind the clouds, the forest appears rather dark. The forest I'm talking about, is next to the church my husband and I attend at the Caldarusani Monastery. Every Sunday, I drive through the forest on my way to church, and I can see what's going on inside. Spring is the most beautiful season in the forest, due to many ephemeral spring plants blooming, one after another. The following flowers, which pop out after the snowdrops, are coloring the forest and brighten the atmosphere - they are the blue-purple alpine squill. In the same time, the lesser celandine start growing fast and their lush leaves invade the forest, by covering the whole dry, brown leaves carpet, with a green new one.

Many alpine squill blooming in the forest Alpine squill and lesser celandine blooms

In the middle of this new carpet, lots of colorful flowers are starting to bloom and those are the fumewort. They appear like amazing bloom clusters (called racemes) with tiny, long-spurred flowers, colored in pink, purple, burgundy or white. It is the spurs that gave them the latin name - Corydalis - coming from the Greek 'korydalis' which means crested lark. [1] We call them 'brebenei' in Romanian, but no one seems to know if the word has a meaning. I remember the name from my childhood, but I've never known what they were or how they looked like, until a few years ago, when I first saw them in the forest. Thanks to the internet, I could find their name fast, so now I know. Actually, more and more people are preoccupied to bring back old, forgotten names of plants that were and are still growing in our forests or on our fields. Traditions are dying, in this speedy century - who has time to think of old plants or animals? And yet, some of us don't want to let them die. I remember many of these plants were growing on the Dambovita river shores - which is flowing through Bucharest - when I was a child. The shores were covered with grass and wild flowers. I mostly remember the red dead-nettle, which was covering most of the river's shore. My grandpa lived across the street, so I often played there, on Dambovita's steep shores. When thinking of those happy times, I agree it must have been really dangerous, but no one got hurt, because we were responsible. We would just walk along the river, pick up some flowers , then we would return home to play games. And if any of us would have accidentally fallen into the river, nothing bad would have happened, because we all knew how to swim, even if we hadn't learned it in fancy pools, but also in lakes and rivers. The Dambovita river's shores are covered in cement now and no children can play there, so there's no danger anymore. The red dead-nettle of my childhood is also a spring ephemeral plant and an important source of pollen for the bees. It blooms about in the same time with the alpine squill, violets and fumewort.

Red dead-nettle, fumewort and lesser celandine blooming in the forest Violet flowers and young red dead-nettle

Fumewort (Corydalis solida) grow mainly in the northern hemisphere forests. Corydalis are a genus of many plant species in the Papaveraceae family. Many other species grow in China and the Himalayas. It is related to poppy, but also to bleeding heart.

Purple fumewort close-up White fumewort raceme

Corydalis divide through their tuberous roots and this is how they can invade the forest, but what a beautiful invasion!

Mauve fumewort racemes Fumewort plant with tuber

Burgundy red fumewort Pink fumewort raceme

Violets bloom almost in the same time and then, the yellow lesser celandine and creeping buttercup blooms appear, as from nowhere!
Lesser celandine and fumewort blooms
All these are perennial spring ephemeral flowers from the forest and, even if their blooms are gone, their leaves are still growing, until they would have brought enough "food" to the tubers, which very much needed for the next year's blooms.

I am one of the luckiest people in the world,to have such a beautiful forest nearby and to see all the plants blooming and growing, for all year long. That's why I wanted to share the beauty with everyone, even though the pictures don't do justice to nature. I wish everyone could have a forest nearby, to see spring nature's beauty!

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corydalis