Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Episode 573 (4-19-21): Springtime Flowers of the Forest, Musically and Biologically

Click to listen to episode (3:50)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 4-16-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 19, 2021.  This revised episode from May 2014 is part of a series this year of spring-related episodes.

MUSIC – ~12 sec – instrumental

This week, we feature a Virginia musical group’s version of a traditional Finnish waltz tune, named for a plant community that, like good music, depends on the right timing.  Have a listen for about 35 more seconds.

MUSIC – ~36 sec – instrumental

You’ve been listening to part of “Flowers of the Forest,” by No Strings Attached, on their 2003 album, “Old Friend’s Waltz,” from Enessay Music.  Just as in a well-done waltz, timing is crucial for low-growing, spring-blooming forest plants.  Such plants live under trees whose leaf canopy will close by late spring, blocking much of the sunlight and rainfall from reaching the forest floor.  As a result, many non-woody forest plants are adapted to take advantage of early spring’s interaction of warming soil and air temperature, available moisture, increasing light, and the activity of emerging insect pollinators to reproduce and to store enough energy underground to survive the coming year.  Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Trillium, and many other Virginia woodland plants follow this strategy: show up early, use colorful flowers to show off for foraging insects, and then produce fruits and seeds before the summer’s shade.

Thanks for No Strings Attached for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 25 more seconds of “Flowers of the Forest.”

MUSIC – ~27 sec – instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 212, 5-5-14.

“Flowers of the Forest” and “Old Friend’s Waltz” are copyright by No Strings Attached and Enessay Music, used with permission.  More information about the now-retired, Blacksburg/Roanoke-based group No Strings Attached is available online at https://www.enessay.com/index.html.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 521, 4-20-20, on Virginia Bluebells, another spring-blooming wildflower.  Information on Mets√§kukkia,” the original Finnish tune on which the No Strings Attached selection was based, is available from Andrew Kuntz, “The Fiddler’s Companion,” online at http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/MER_MIC.htm; and from Jeremy Keith, “The Session,” online at http://thesession.org/tunes/4585.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.


Shooting Star beside a stream in Blacksburg, Va., May 3, 2014.

Trillium at the base of a Tulip-poplar in Blacksburg, Va., May 3, 2014.

Trout Lily at Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Montgomery County, Va., April 20, 2019.

Jack-in-the-pulpit at Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Montgomery County, Va., April 20, 2019.

Spring Beauty in Blacksburg, Va., April 15, 2021.

Wild Geranium at Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Montgomery County, Va., April 16, 2021.


Used for Audio

Marion Lobstein, “Spring Wildflowers: Ecological Factors,” by (undated), Botanical Society of Washington [D.C.], online at www.botsoc.org/SpringWildflowerBackground.doc.  Marion Lobstein, a retired biology professor at Northern Virginia Community College-Manassas, is the Botany Chair for the Prince William Wildflower Socieyt (Prince William County, Va.); other articles by her are available online at https://vnps.org/princewilliamwildflowersociety/botanizing-with-marion/.

Alexander F. Motten, “Pollination Ecology of the Spring Wildflower Community of a Temperate Deciduous Forest,” Ecological Monographs (Vol. 56, No. 1), March 1986, pp. 21-42.

For More Information about Plants in Virginia or Elsewhere

A.S. Weakley, J.C. Ludwig, and J.F. Townsend, Flora of Virginia, Bland Crowder, ed.  Copyright by the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project, Inc., Richmond.  Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, 2012.  This is the first comprehensive manual of Virginia plants published since the 1700s.

Flora of Virginia Project, online at http://www.floraofvirginia.org/.

Oscar W. Gupton and Fred C. Swope, series of wildflower guides: Fall Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1987; Wild Orchids of the Middle Atlantic States University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1986); Wildflowers of Tidewater Virginia (University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1982; and Wildflowers of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1979.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database, online at https://plants.usda.gov.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/.

Virginia Native Plant Society, online at http://vnps.org/.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Plants” subject category.

Following are links to other spring-themed episodes.
Eastern Phoebe –
Episode 416, 4-16-18.
Frog and Toad Medley – Episode 408, 2-19-18.
Rhododendrons – Episode 574, 4-26-21.
Spring arrival episode – Episode 569, 3-22-21.
Spring Peepers – Episode 570, 3-29-21.
Spring reminder about tornado awareness – Episode 568, 3-15-21.
Spring signals for fish – Episode 571, 4-5-21.
Spring sounds serenades –
Episode 206, 3-14-14 and Episode 516, 3-16-20.
Virginia Bluebells – Episode 521, 4-20-20.
Warblers and spring bird migration – Episode 572, 4-12-21.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
K.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
K.9 – There are patterns in nature.
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Life Science
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.
LS.8     – Changes in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms occur over time.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.