Recap of Iowa wildflower Wednesdays from 2020

I had big plans for the ninth year of Bleeding Heartland’s wildflowers series. Most of my ambitions didn’t pan out. I didn’t visit any of my favorite state parks or wildlife preserves and made only one trip to Mike Delaney’s restored Dallas County prairie, a plentiful source of material in the past. I also spent less time on bike trails in 2020, with no farmers market to ride to on Saturday mornings.

Other photographers stepped up to help. Many thanks to those who authored posts (Katie Byerly, Lora Conrad, Beth Lynch, Emilene Leone, Elizabeth Marilla, Bruce Dickerson, and Patrick Swanson) and those who contributed photographs for one of more of my pieces (in addition to the guest authors, Marla Mertz, Sheryl Rutledge, Leland Searles, Julie Harkey, Wendie Schneider, and Don Weiss).

Iowa wildflower Wednesday will return sometime during the spring of 2021. Please reach out if you have photographs to share, especially of native plants I haven’t featured yet. The full archive of more than 250 posts featuring more than 220 wildflower species is available here.

For those looking for wildflower pictures year round, or seeking help with plant ID, I recommend the Facebook groups Flora of Iowa or Iowa wildflower enthusiasts.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Flowering plants gone to seed

“This was my worst year ever for getting out with my camera,” I told a friend in October.

“It’s been the worst year for a lot of things,” she replied.

Most of the wildflower posts I’d planned for this fall never came together. Day after day, I kept finding reasons not to drive to a prairie or go for a bike ride on nearby wooded trails. So instead of closing out this year’s series with my own pictures of late bloomers like asters and goldenrods, I am sharing images of plants that finished flowering months ago. Katie Byerly, also known as the “Iowa Prairie Girl,” gave permission to publish the photographs enclosed below, which she took in Cerro Gordo County in early October.

Iowa wildflower Wednesday will return sometime in the spring of 2021.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Sunflowers

As November 8, 2016 approached, I prepared to profile prairie blazing star, which seemed like a fitting way to celebrate the first woman to be elected president.

This year, I was too superstitious to plan for the first post-election Iowa wildflower Wednesday. But now that Joe Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes seems clear, I want to feature one sunflower (plant from the Helianthus genus) that is native to the state in question for every batch of electoral votes Biden flipped.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: A walk around my pasture

When not enjoying Lamb’s Ear and other wildflowers, Bruce Dickerson is a history professor at Indian Hills Community College. -promoted by Laura Belin

I live on 25 acres in Appanoose County. Although I’m not able to do it as often as I’d like to, I try to get in some exercise by walking around my pasture and small wooded area that I own. Not a farm, but we do have a couple of horses, and I rent pasture to my Amish farrier so there are sometimes as many as ten horses keeping the grass from getting too tall.  

Anyway, while on a walk a couple of weeks ago I came across what I believe is Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine), also called woolly hedgenettle, in the wooded area of pasture.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Purple rattlesnake-root (Glaucous white lettuce)

Katie Byerly, also known as Iowa Prairie Girl, profiles a rare, beautiful plant native to 20 states and most of Canada. -promoted by Laura Belin

I was walking through Ada Haden Prairie in Howard County, Iowa, the first time I saw Purple rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes racemosa). Anytime I see a new plant I find myself thinking out loud “I wonder what that is?” But the first time I saw purple rattlesnake-root, sometimes called Glaucous white lettuce, it hadn’t bloomed yet and my wondering was more like “what the in the world is that??!” And maybe a few other words too.

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