Lily Pads

Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) The pads of watershield are slightly smaller than other common lily pads, and they are more elliptical. It blooms throughout the summer, but we did not notice any of the smaller pink-purple flowers. Its most interesting and noticeable feature was a thick coating of very slippery mucilage (slime!) coating the underside of …

July Brings New Wildflowers #3 Yellow

Many different yellow wildflowers have appeared recently. So this is a longer post than usual. The first grouping includes four plants that have a “weedy” appearance. Despite this, their flowers are surprisingly attractive. Meadow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum); upper left of image This is an invasive non-native species relatively new to Minnesota. Like the related Orange …

Old Technology; Is Newer Necessarily Better?

Departing from the usual for one post to advocate an unconventional method to mow lawn — the old-style, non-motorized reel mower. I got one of these mowers for the first time about four years ago, and was surprised at how well it worked. Since then, I’ve used this type of mower a lot; the images …

Understory; Shrubberies #1

Wild Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) Red Raspberry is a native plant common throughout Minnesota and easily recognized. It is likely the wild berry most often eaten by people. In our area the raspberries are especially noticeable now, because of their eye-catching ripe fruit. They are most commonly found in the dappled shade at the edges …

July Brings New Wildflowers #2, Purple

Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) Bee balm is my favorite of the plants so far investigated. It is a common wildflower, and also is often used in landscaping. In the pictures above, the purple flowers are native Bee Balm along the roadside and the magenta flowers are from domestic plants in our yard. Bees and butterflies …

Milkweeds and Butterflies

Monarch & Great Spangled Fritillary Most would likely recognize the butterfly to the far right as a Monarch, but the Great Spangled Fritillary? I had never heard of that. Luckily, along with nearly everything else, there is a site devoted to helping non-experts identify butterflies. Also, this milkweed appears to be the Common Milkweed (Asclepias …

July Brings New Wildflowers #1, White

Recording changes in wildflower and plant populations as the seasons progress… Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis). This is a non-native plant with several alternate names (Soapwort, Latherwort, Lady’s-wash Bowl, London Pride). Since early July it has become very prevalent along local gravel roads; unsurprisingly it is described as quite invasive. Locally the flower is white with …

Other Roadside Features

Previous posts have focused on the plants along the roadside, but a few other interesting things deserve attention. This post features two of them. Glacial Till Alongside our gravel road there is this terrific exposure of the glacial till that covers the entire region. Glacial till is a catch-all term for the sediment left behind …