A Virtual Wildflower Walk with Alonso Abugattas

Sponsored by the Continuing Education Committee of the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia

Go on a virtual wildflower walk with Alonso Abugattas, listening to him explain some of the lore and how to ID many of the spring-blooming plants we encounter both in Arlington & Alexandria Parks, as well as others found at Turkey Run.
Zoom session, recorded Thursday April 9, 2020

Alonso Abugattas is a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator and storyteller in the Washington, D.C. area. He is the natural resources manager for the Department of Parks and Recreation and the co-chair for the Beltway Chapter of Region 2 of the National Association for Interpretation.

He has been trained as a master gardener, was made an honorary Virginia Master Naturalist for his role in starting two chapters and serves as an instructor for both. He is a co-founder of the Washington Area Butterfly Club and has held several offices, including president, for the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

He invites you to check out his personal blog “Capital Naturalist” and Facebook group where he posts regular nature notes using his own photography.

Terms used in Video

  • Myrmecochory: dispersal of plant seeds by ants
  • Myrmecochorous plants: plants that produce seeds that are dispersed by ants
  • Elaiosome: fleshy structure attached to a seed which is rich in lipids and amino acids and attractive to ants
  • Puccoon: a common name that refers to plants formerly used by certain Native Americans for dyes
  • Chasmogamous flowers: commonly showy flowers with open petals encircling exposed reproductive parts available for pollination by pollinators
  • Cleistogamous flowers: non-opening, self-pollinating flowers
  • Univoltine: referring to a species of insect that reproduces at the rate of one per year
  • ARMN: Arlington Regional Master Naturalists

Plant List

Wildflowers discussed by Alonso are listed below, with links to Capital Naturalist YouTube videos, Capital Naturalist Blogposts, and MGNV Tried and True Native Plant Fact Sheets.

Harbinger of Spring, Erigenia bulbosa

BloodRoot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty) in the demonstration Shade Garden. Photo © 2012 Mary Free

Spring Beauties, Claytonia virginica

Cut-leaf Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata

Sessile (Toadshade) Trillium, Trillium sessile

Yellow Troutlily, Erythronium americanum

White Troutlily, Erythronium albidum

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)
Photo © 2018 Dina Lehmann-Kim

Common Blue (Confederate) Violets , Viola sororia

Cream (Striped) Violet, Viola striata

Smooth Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens

Dutchman’s Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria

Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells) Photo ©2016 Dina Lehmann

Squirrel Corn, Dicentra canadensis

Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

Wild Blue Phlox (Woodland), Phlox divaricata

Geranium maculatum flower fetails with ants.
Photo © Elaine MIlls

Wild Geranium (Crane’s Bill), Geranium maculatum

Carolina Cranesbill Geranium, Geranium carolinianum

Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense

Packera aurea, Golden Ragwort

Packera aurea (golden ragwort) flower detail
Photo © 2015 Elaine Mills

Golden Ragwort, Packera aurea

Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

False Solomon’s Seal, Maianthemum racemosum

Mayapple flowers

Podophyllum peltatum m (mayapple) flowers
Photo © Elaine Mills

Jack in the Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum 

Mayapples, Podophyllum peltatum 

Partridge-berry, Mitchella repens

Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum

Broadleaf (Canada, Bluntleaf, or Maple-leaf) Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum canadense