There are many spring wildflowers that grow in the mixed hardwood forests of South Carolina. Spring ephemerals are woodland herbaceous plants that emerge in early spring with flowers and foliage and put on a spectacular, but short, show in the sunny forest before the tree leaves shade the forest floor. Other spring woodland flowers keep their foliage through the growing season. One of my favorites is chickweed.
No, I am not talking about the annual common or mouse-ear chickweed that folks battle in lawns and landscape beds; I am fond of a little-known perennial relative. Walking in the woods near my house years ago, I stumbled across this plant growing in the moss at the base of a tree trunk. I had never seen it before, but the flowers were easily identifiable as a chickweed species, with the five petals deeply divided to make it look like there are ten petals. But these flowers were ½” across, about the size of a dime, and extremely captivating.
A quick internet search revealed the identity as Star Chickweed, Stellaria pubera. I have observed them over the past years, and they seem very dependable and non-aggressive. I recently found them at several online nurseries. This might be a unique beauty to consider.
For information on other spring woodland wildflowers, see An Ecology of Spring Wildflowers and Conserving Carolina Spring Ephemerals: Masters of Adaptation.