I was walking a narrow, heavily canopied trail at the Lime Creek Nature Center in Mason City when I first noticed Common blue wood aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).Continue Reading...
Serious birders compile a “Life List.” A list of all the bird species they have ever encountered.
When I seriously started studying Iowa wildflowers three years ago, I soon realized that finding a fall gentian is considered a bonus during a wildflower search. I remember being thrilled finding my first bottle gentian. As I added more gentian to my “life list”–cream, stiff, and downy–it began to seem as if the elusive fringed gentian, which inspired so many, was eluding me.
Finally this August, I was so pleased when I stumbled upon a fringed gentian in a wonderful little fen located in the southeast corner of Cerro Gordo County. It turned out to be Lesser fringed gentian (Gentianopsis virgata), sometimes known as smaller fringed gentian.
During a camping trip in Floyd County with my son’s Boy Scout troop, I was pleasantly surprised to find this miniature blazing star growing everywhere on the dry clay hills of the Fossil and Prairie Park Preserve, located one mile west of Rockford on County Road B47.Continue Reading...
Katie Byerly shares her images of an amazing plant that she calls, “The Giant in the Wildflower World.” promoted by Laura Belin
Purplestem Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea) towers over the other wildflowers at Wilkinson Park in Rock Falls, Iowa. It creates a beautiful background border to the wild roses blooming at the same time. These giant plants also stand in line along the edge of the Shell Rock River creating a unique view to the river from the park and visa versa river into the park.
Purplestem Angelica can be found in the northern counties of Iowa, and as you drive into Minnesota, you may see it in many moist ditches and river edges.
Katie Byerly shares her knowledge and photographs of yet another wildflower I’ve never seen in the wild. -promoted by desmoinesdem
In his book The Secrets of Wildflowers, Jack Sanders calls Gentians the Royal Family of Wildflowers. Gentians are named after King Gentius, who ruled as the last Illyrian King from 181 to 168 BCE. It is believed that Gentius discoverd medicinal value from the plant and used it as an antidote to poison and in the dressing of wounds.
If we follow the belief that Gentians are the royal family of the wildflowers, I’d like to imagine the handsome King Fringed Gentian ruling his flower kingdom with his beautiful pale Queen Cream Gentian at his side. His brother Prince Bottled Gentian leads the flower army and is known for his strength. And then there is their rigid cousin Duke Stiff Gentian … he is often overlooked as part of the Gentian family as he quietly rules his northern counties.
Katie Byerly shares her images of a rare wetland plant she researched and photographed this summer. -promoted by desmoinesdem
“It’s pinstriped!” was a comment regarding my picture of Grass of Parnassus, posted in the Iowa Wildflower Report Facebook group. Its green-veined petals makes this plant easy to identify… if you can find it.
Marsh Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia glauca), also called Fen Grass of Parnassus or Bog-Stars, grows in wet calcareous habitats like fens, open ground water seepage areas, and wet prairies. The Minnesota Wildflowers and Illinois Wildflowers webpages both comment on the rarity of these habitats and subsequently this flower. Calcareous means to contain calcium carbonate occurring on chalk or limestone, and that’s exactly where I found my grass of Parnassus.