Lakeshore Plants

Blue Lobela (Lobelia siphilitica) This native plant, also known as Blue Cardinal Flower, can be adapted to moist areas of gardens. Its species name, siphilitica, refers to its use by the Iroquois in treating venereal disease — a use that European studies failed to verify. Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) It looks innocuous, but Water Hemlock […]

Morning on the Lake

In the three images above a beaver can be seen swimming across the lake, then raising his tail to slap the water, and finally the resulting splash as he submerges. It seemed like this beaver was intentionally showing himself to me and then swimming away — maybe to draw me away from the beaver lodge? […]

Milkweeds and Butterflies #2

Caterpillars In elementary school I remember bringing in these caterpillars with a few milkweed leaves for show-and-tell, hoping they’d turn into monarchs. Here is a similar show-and-tell. Today I’m showing the caterpillars on their Swamp Milkweeds; hoping to return later to capture the metamorphosis. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Described previously, but I got some better […]

Understory; Shrubbery #2, Gray Alder and Hazelnut

Gray Alder (Alnus incana) According to the Minnesota DNR, many smaller lakes and ponds in northern Minnesota are ringed by thickets of Gray Alder — commonly called Speckled Alder because of the scattered white lenticels on its stems. It prefers wet areas, which explains its prevalence on the shoreline. It has no commercial uses, but […]

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 […]