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Word of the Week: Pullulate
May 08, 2020 by Julia Miller-Black

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Crocus Photo by Andrew Yee

Pullulate [PUHL-yuh-leyt] (verb): to germinate or sprout.

With the season of spring moving full steam ahead, you may have already started to notice plants beginning to sprout, or pullulate!

Pullulate is one of those lesser-used nature words that hasn’t peaked in popularity for hundreds of years! An archaic term from the 17th century, pullulate traces its roots back to the latin word pullus meaning “to sprout” or “an animal’s young,” specifically referring to chicks. If you need help remembering the word’s meaning just think about how new plants and baby birds are both associated with springtime.

Spring is a wonderful time to watch for early signs of plant life whether it be on a quick walk or from your window. The outside world seems to change on the daily! Trees like the silver maple are gloriously budding and ephemeral spring flowers are on their way. These fleeting flowers boast their beauty for a very brief period of time and are usually gone before the long days of summer. Common spring ephemerals in High Park include jack-in-the-pulpit, coltsfoot, and trillium.

As spring comes and plants begin to pullulate, look down in the dirt for spring ephemerals and up to the trees for nests and hatchinglings!

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