Katie Byerly

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Stiff Gentian

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.

Continue Reading...

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Grass of Parnassus

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.

Continue Reading...

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Small white lady's slipper

Nature enthusiast and talented photographer Katie Byerly shares images of a gorgeous and rare native plant. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Finding a new wildflower is always a treat. I was treated this spring when a wildflower friend, Ken Plagge, called to tell me that he had found a Small white lady’s slipper at Wilkinson Pioneer Park in Rock Falls (Cerro Gordo County). Also called White moccasin flower, Small white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium candidum) is a native orchid often associated with the words “rare” and “threatened.” It is found in prairie fens and wet/mesic prairies.

However, the treat did not end there. Ken and I soon found out from the Cerro Gordo County Conservation team that this flower’s presence had never been recorded at Wilkinson Pioneer Park. A short 24 hours after first seeing the plant, we were meeting with Mark Leoschke, a state botanist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, to help document the white lady’s slipper’s existence in Rock Falls.

Continue Reading...
View More...