I am learning that small plants have remarkable fine-scale features. This post is intended to show off some of these.
Ontario Lobelia (Lobelia kalmii)
This tiny plant is prevalent on the north shore of Lake Superior and is less common elsewhere in Minnesota. It only reaches 0.5 to 1.5 inches tall and its flowers are just 0.25 to 0.50 inches across.
Ontario Lobelia prefers wetland environments, and is found in the northern states and Canada.
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
This is an attractive and vigorous native plant that prefers semi-shady wetlands. Its mature seed pods explosively expel seeds at a slight touch, which explains its alternate name, Spotted Touch-me-not.
The sap of Jewelweed has been used by Native Americans to sooth skin rashes, particularly from poison ivy.
Rabbit Tobacco (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium)
Rabbit Tobacco is an interesting plant. A commonly-used alternate name is Sweet Everlasting; because its flowers are long-lasting and it reportedly gives off a sweet, maple-like scent. Its flowers are the yellow-brown parts seen at the tips of the plant in the photos above. The white petal-like structures surrounding the flower are actually bracts.
There are several medicinal and supernatural benefits attributed to Rabbit Tobacco, including sore-throat relief and repelling ghosts. As suggested by the name “tobacco” people smoke the leaves of this plant. Smoking Rabbit Tobacco has been a tradition among both Native Americans and children in the rural south.
Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium fontanum)
Mouse-ear chickweed is truly tiny, I found it hidden amongst the grass on our lawn. For scale, compare it to the blades of grass seen in the pictures above.
There are many species of chickweed in Minnesota, Mouse-ear is distinguished from other similar species, like Common Chickweed, by the prevalent hairs on its stems and leaves and its creeping mat-like growth habit.
These chickweeds are non-native and commonly regarded as lawn weeds.
Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Indian Strawberry is another tiny plant found in our lawn that is non-native and invasive (a weed).
An alternate name for it is Mock Strawberry, however its red fruit is essentially tasteless. The Wild Strawberry plant is quite different, much more like cultivated Strawberries.
Three lobed leaves distinguish Indian Strawberry from another similar plant, Dwarf Cinquefoil.