Emerging from the relative dormancy of winter, New Hampshire's biodiversity reawakens in spring and begins a new cycle of reproduction and growth. Herbaceous plant species poke up from the soil, some animals emerge from hibernation, and trees sprout new leaves, grow new branches, and add girth to their trunks. Spring wildflowers also dot the landscape, their showy presence exciting insects and botanists alike. The presence of these understory species enable ecologists to identify natural communities, which are defined as recurring assemblages of species.
(left) A lady's slipper nods into bloom near the NH seacoast in late May.
(right) Ferns sprout in a NH forest in May.
New growth on the tips of a hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) branch.
(photos by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)