Previous posts have covered the white, yellow and pink wildflowers we have seen in June along the roadside in Northern Minnesota. Purple is another common color for the local wildflowers, and today we’ll focus on those.
Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa)
Along our roadside Prairie Phlox is concentrated in a sandier area that gets lots of sun. This photo was taken on June 20, about at the height of its display. It has a wide distribution, found from Florida to North Dakota.
Prairie Phlox is also a popular garden plant, available from several nurseries, especially those specializing in native plants. It is very attractive to butterflies, which are required by the plant for cross-pollination.
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Harebell has a number of alternate names, The “Picture This” app calls it Bluebell Bellflower. We first notice Harebell blooming in mid-June and it has continued since then. The plant appears delicate, but actually is very hardy. It blooms throughout the summer and is able to flourish in rocky soils.
Harebell is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but is most commonly associated with Scotland. It was once used there to make blue dye to color Scottish tartans, and it is the symbol of the MacDonald clan.
Large Beardstongue (Penstemon grandiflorus)
This plant in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) is really striking! We saw it blooming on June 25 while biking along the Heartland Trail near Nevis MN. The Large Beardstongue blooms for a short time in May-June and is relatively rare as a wildflower; it is most commonly found in the northern Great Plains states.
This is another plant that is available for home gardeners from nurseries specializing in native plants. It is very attractive to hummingbirds and bees.
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
This plant is different from the wildflowers previously described. It wasn’t seen along the roadside or in the woods; I was surprised to find a patch of it in the middle of my lawn. I read that it is characterized by purple multi-flowered spikes, but I mow too frequently to have seen that.
Self Heal is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Like other mint plants it tends to invasively take over wherever it is planted. Unlike other familiar mint plants, it does not have distinctive smell or taste. It does attract butterflies and bees.
As its name suggests, Self Heal has been considered to have several beneficial medicinal qualities. Reportedly in the past it was highly esteemed by herbal healers. The tannins contained in Seal Heal likely allow it to soothe sore throats, as well as other sores and wounds. Recent research has found that Self Heal is also a strong antioxidant.
As an update…
To show its appearance outside of my mowed lawn, the picture to the left shows Self Heal along the roadside.