Archive for May, 2009
I spent a couple hours at Long Lake Regional Park today. On the prairie, the prairie smoke and pussytoes are starting to go to seed, though there are still plenty of blooms left. The blue-eyed grass is blooming now, as is American vetch, lupine and Carolina puccoon. Bastard toadflax and golden alexanders are finally opening up—I saw the first buds on them weeks ago.
In the woods by Rush Lake, the giant colony of European lily-of-the-valley is in full bloom. When I went into the thick of it to take some pictures I thought I would pass out from the scent, it was so strong. Also blooming in the woods now are cream pea, starflower and drooping trillium. Last year I only saw a handful of trillium scattered about, but this year I found a clump of about a dozen flowering plants, plus the scattered loners. I was worried it was dying out, but now I’m not so concerned.
I recently received a copy of a new book published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, called Wildflowers of the Boundary Waters: Hiking Through the Seasons, by Betty vos Hemstad. It’s not intended as a field guide, though it does give sufficient information to identify most of the plants in it. It is more of a picture book, with full-color photos of the 120 species covered within its pages, showing each species, as seen while hiking, in various stages of its life cycle. Each has a 2-page spread. The accompanying text, written in a conversational manner, provides some history, folk uses, and/or commentary rather than taxonomy. (more…)
I spent the day at Wild River State Park, my first trip there this year. My duties in the Prairie Care program had me checking on pussytoes and sandwort. It looks like it will be a good year for pussytoes, but it’s too early to tell on the sandwort.
The large-flowered trilliums are blooming in droves now—there’s millions of them. Also blooming are nodding trillium, early meadow-rue, jack-in-the-pulpit, kittentails, large-flowered and sessile bellworts, prairie buttercup, miterwort, and a variety of violets: bird-foot, prairie, downy yellow, dog, and common blue. Yellow lady’s slipper is starting to bloom, but isn’t quite there yet.
We spent a couple hours in the afternoon spreading seed on a newly-burned part of the prairie. It was a blustery day and the wind did a good job of dispersing the seed. Even so, I had a bunch stuck to my clothes when I got home, enough to plant myself. We’ll see what sprouts.
I’ve had several people send me photos of this flower asking for help with an ID. Since it is a cultivated plant, it isn’t likely to be in field guides, or on most other wildflower web sites. That doesn’t mean you won’t find it in the wild, though. (more…)
I spent a good part of the day at Battle Creek Regional Park, partly on a field trip organized with the Native Plant Society. We recorded about 75 plant species for the Ramsey County Plant Survey.
The timing of the trip was perfect – kittentails look to be at peak now. Also blooming somewhere in the park are large-flowered bellwort, hoary puccoon, jack-in-the-pulpit, pussytoes, rock cress, rue anemone, wood anemone, blue and downy yellow violets, wild plum and gooseberries. Just starting to bloom are columbine, wild sarsaparilla, wild blue phlox, and starry false solomon’s seal. Bloodroot and skunk cabbage are done for this season.
The garlic mustard is coming up in force, too.
Yesterday evening the Native Plant Society, in conjunction with Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), had a field trip to the Sand Coulee SNA, just south of Hastings. The restoration work done there by the FMR and DNR is pretty impressive. Even though it’s still early in the season, there was plenty to see.
In bloom now are pussytoes, prairie smoke, birds-foot and prairie violets, blue-eyed grass, sand cherry, and the uncommon Carolina anemone and prairie plum. Soon to be blooming are Carolina puccoon, bastard toadflax and prairie ragwort.
In another month this place will be pretty spectacular.
The SNA is also a great place for bird watching.
Yesterday I took a stroll around Rice Creek Trail North. I found a couple big colonies of field pussytoes blooming. At both sites, budding next to the pussytoes is what looks like bastard toadflax. Wood betony is budding, too, and should be blooming in another week or so.
At Long Lake Park I found the first wood anemone blooming. Small white violet is also blooming and little-leaf buttercup is in full bloom in sunnier spots, but isn’t even budding in the wooded areas yet. I saw a couple buds on one red columbine plant but it looks like most won’t be blooming for at least another week.
On the bad side, hoary alyssum is blooming now, too.