Wildflower Roundup

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 […]

September Wildflowers

Asters (genus Symphyotrichum and Eurybia) Asters are very prevalent along the roadsides here in mid-September. Minnesota has many species of Aster, within the genus Symphyotrichum the Minnesota Wildflower website lists 19! The first two asters shown in the slideshow below have white petals. I believe the first of these shows the Panicle Aster and the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]