Tag Archives: Wildflowers

Morning Walk | Yellow Wildflowers

It was a beautiful morning for a walk with temperature in the low 60s and clear sky. The waning moon was visible above the western horizon. It was heading east for the grand solar eclipse on 21 August.

We set out from this location in Solon, Iowa. We walked about two miles west and then headed back. Lake Macbride trail heads west from the parking lot. It is mostly flat as it passes several wooded areas and native prairie restorations. Numerous wildflowers were showy in the prairies. Especially colorful were the yellow ones.

We captured photos of as many different ones as we could find. There might be some duplicates. We made no attempt to ID them. Fellow blogger Eliza Waters offered some IDs which are in the photo descriptions. See her comment below. All photos can be viewed larger for details.

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Mother’s Day Hike | Ryerson’s Woods

by Melanie and Jim

After our early morning breakfast, we drove across town to Ryerson’s Woods. It was acquired by Iowa City in 1985. The park has about 50 acres and includes less than a mile of trails. Last time we visited was in mosquito season. We got a short distance into the trees and ran back to the car with several bites each. This time there were no mosquitoes.

We met two men and their dogs who were on the way out. The men were chatty. One dog reminded us of the Good Dog, Carl. The children’s book series about Carl is wonderful. We saw only two other people from afar.

There is a bit of up and down in the park, but the trail is well maintained with mulch under foot. Clean-up of fallen trees needs to be done in a few places, but the path was only blocked in one spot, and we climbed over easily.

As the park name implies, it is a wooded site. The ground vegetation struggles in many places to capture sunlight. Even so, it is lush and dense with green, as well as with wildflowers.

We saw a lot of Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum plants in many different sizes. Most were about a foot tall. There were a few two feet tall and shaded a red color.

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Easter Hike | Argyle Lake State Park

by Jim and Melanie

Our family gathered for a potluck dinner on Easter at a country church in Illinois. On Saturday, we drove down to the area from our home in Iowa. It took a little more than two hours. In the area is a state park called Argyle Lake. It had been many years since either of us visited the park. We decided to spend part of the nice day hiking. We chose a trailhead near the dam.

The 1700 acre park, with a 93 acre lake, was established in 1948 by the state of Illinois. The site was formerly known as Argyle Hollow. It served as a stage coach stop on the line between Galena and Beardstown, IL. The hollow was also home to many drift coal mines dug into the hillsides. The park today suffers from neglect by the state. Their lack of funds is obvious. The trails we hiked really needed attention. Tick spray with DEET was a necessary precaution, given the brush impeding on the trail.

One trail bordered the lake. We encountered this pair of Canada Geese sitting on a branch.

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Such a Beautiful Day

by Melanie and Jim

The weather changes a lot in Iowa. It is one of the features of our state we like. Now and then, we enjoy some of the most splendid and beautiful days. It was like that recently with absolutely clear skies, very light breeze, and 72˚F. We changed clothes and drove a few miles to a favorite place, FW Kent County Park. We hiked around the central lake and then around a smaller pond in the northeast corner. Total distance was about 2 miles. Not far. But, it was a beautiful day. Not much needs to be said. The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Central Lake

Smaller Pond

Tiny Flowers | Tatarian Honeysuckle

This is the last of the Tiny Flowers posts. Check the recent posts at the right for links to the earlier ones. The term ‘flowers’ is actually not correct this time. What I found in hunting for 1/4″ flowers was a berry of that size. It deserved to be in the spotlight with its translucent orange skin.

Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) is a shrub found in most of Canada and the U.S. except for the south eastern states. It is not native according to the USDA. The plant is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into North America as an ornamental in 1752. It is classified as noxious and invasive in several regions.

My two photos were taken from about 2″ away using the super-macro setting with no flash.

With leaf structure | Marc Banks | Flickr

Tiny Flowers | Japanese Meadowsweet

In front of our house we have some shrubs. One type is spirea. Some species of spirea have pure white flowers. The one in front of our house has pink flowers. It is known as Japanese Meadowsweet (Spiraea japonica). The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture shows it distributed in the eastern third of the country and part of Canada. It is not native here. It is native to Japan, China, and Korea. Many nurseries offer it as a yard shrub.

We like the bunches of pink it presents in the late spring and early summer. Closer inspection shows a mass of individual small 1/4″ flowers.

This picture reminds me that it is getting to be time to trim the shrubs before they get too big.

 

Tiny Flowers | Creeping Charlie

This tiny 1/4″ flower reminds me of an iris. It is actually from an ivy plant called Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea). It goes by many names: ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin to name a few. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, it is not native to North America. But, it is widespread. It is actually native to Europe and SE Asia.

It has medicinal uses, is edible, and was used to make beer in Saxony before hops were introduced. Try it yourself to make a brew of Creeper 2013. It can be part of cheese making substituted for rennet.

Dennis Profant | http://fieldbioinohio.blogspot.com/ | Used with permission

It is an attractive ground ivy with gently scalloped leaves. It is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It doesn’t climb up. Instead, it propagates horizontally along the ground. This vine in the center is about 6″ long and is near the edge of my lawn.

Unfortunately, it is quite invasive and can take over spaces from other plants. Here it tries to make headway into my lawn grass. It weaves its way several feet in through the grass setting down rhizomes every few inches. It can be pulled out. But, it is tedious to remove.

Tiny Flowers | Bird’s-Foot Trefoil

The previous two posts featured yellow flowers. Here is one more. It is another member of the bean, legume, pea family (Fabaceae). Bird’s-Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) is found throughout Canada and the U.S. except for Nevada, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and S. Carolina. It is also found throughout Britain, mainland Europe, Asia, north and east Africa, and in mountainous parts of the tropics. According to the United States Dept. of Agriculture site, it is not native here. They have clusters of flowers on low growing plants. Each individual flower is quite small. Remember, I was hunting for 1/4″ or less.

Note the visiting fly on my finger for a sense of scale.

According to the Wildscreen ARKive site, this plant can go by as many as 70 other names such as: bacon and eggs, butter and eggs, Devil’s fingers, Dutchman’s clogs, granny’s toenails, hen and chickens, lady’s fingers, lady’s slipper.

The name can be derived from the leaves in this image from the Illinois Wildflowers site, our next door neighbor. Note the three leaves and their birdfoot shape.

Tiny Flowers | Low Hop Field Clover

This post continues the results of my quest for very small flowers noticed on my recent walk. This one is known as Low Hop Field Clover Trifolium campestre Schreb. According to Plant Profile of the USDA, it is found in most of Canada and the U.S. I notice the small yellow flowers every time we go walking.

Each small 1/4″ clover blossom shows proudly among the green leaves. The plant is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae). A key identifying feature is the larger middle leaf of the three.

If you want to read more details about this species, visit the Illinois Wildflowers site.

Tiny Flowers | Common Yellow Woodsorrel

Big showy flowers are wonderful to see. There are many fine examples in the yards and gardens in most neighborhoods. Today, as I set out on a walk along our community trails, I brought my camera. I decided to search for some of the smallest flowers I could find. I tried to restrict my hunt to 1/4″ flowers. The macro setting on the camera allows me to get within 2″. I found several good subjects. Today, I am sharing one. More will follow in the days to come.


Let me introduce you to Oxalis stricta L. It is also known as common yellow woodsorrel. The flower in this image and the next looks very large. That is an illusion caused by the macro setting on the camera. It is quite small.

Common Yellow Woodsorrel

A Little Bit Closer

In order to get a better sense of scale, I supported the flower in my hand for comparison. It is a very small flower.

The plant which produces this tiny flower has shamrock shaped leaves. This specimen stood about 12″ tall. I have seen smaller ones growing in my yard and garden.

The common yellow woodsorrel is found throughout most of Canada and the U.S. except for some far western states. The United States Department of Agriculture offers more details here.