With fewer wildflowers in fall there is an opportunity to feature interesting flowers previously overlooked.
White Rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes alba)
White rattlesnake-root, also known as White Lettuce, is a shade-loving member of the aster family that flowers in the late summer. The plant pictured was in a wooded section of the Paul Bunyan Trail north of Hackensack Minnesota.
Native Americans used Rattlesnake-root for many medicinal purposes. In particular, the Iroquois used a poultice made from its roots to treat rattlesnake bites. There are also stories that juice from the plant is effective as a rattlesnake repellent.
Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Birdsfoot Trefoil is a plant in the pea family native to Europe. It has been purposely introduced in North America as a forage plant and as a control for roadside erosion, and is commonly seen blooming in our area from June to August. “Birdsfoot” refers to its seed pods that occur in clusters that resemble a bird’s foot.
While seed for this plant is still offered commercially as a cover crop, the Minnesota DNR considers it an invasive species that should be controlled. Dense mats of it choke out desirable native plants, which is of concern.
Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)
Butter and Eggs is an invasive species also native to Europe, with flowers similar to snapdragons . Yellow Toadflax is one of its many alternate names. It was brought to America as an ornamental plant, and because it was used to make yellow dye. It has spread aggressively to become an undesirable weed, mildly toxic to livestock.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Mullein was featured in a previous post, prior to its bloom. That post focused on the utility of its velvety leaves (Nature’s Charmin). But, it also has interesting flowers, as shown in the photo to the left.