Wildflowers: July 02, 2010

The Wildflowers are slowing down a bit..June is their month to go wild and strut their stuff. Aldo Leopold said it best " During every week from April to September there are, on the average, ten wild plants coming into first bloom. In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them." From the dandelions we chase from our perfect laws to the Ladys Slippers we gawk at from the roadway..each and everyone one of us..unless we live in a concrete jungle has encountered a wildflower during the month of June.

I wonder how the roadway mowing guy feels when he amputates my wildflowers..the butterfly food laying prostrate in the hot summer sun. The White Sweet Clover free to spread its dying fragrance wide and far over the prairie. It smells heavenly before it is mowed down..after its aromatic stalk is crushed the fragrance is amplified a thousand fold. The low growers are the only escapees..the prostrate Wild Roses, the Black Medick..I will survive this cutting of the road side wildflowers and grasses..I will just have to go deeper into the woods..and farther out onto the prairie on the roads less travelled..the ones with no money for roadside mowing.

Common Milkweed or Asclepias syriaca, milkweed is the only source of food for the Monarch Butterfly. There are many different kinds of milkweed, this is the largest one that is commonly found along the roadside..it has a lovely fragrance. There are thirteen species of milkweed in Minnesota. This milkweed is a native plant.

Giant Blue Hyssop or Agastache foeniculum is a native plant with a square stem and smells of anise when it’s leaves are crushed.

False Sunflower or Smooth Oxeye or Heliopsis helianthoides is a native plant. Single flowers are borne on a single stalk.

Cow Parsnip or Heracleum lanatum is another native. A tall single stem that is not pleasantly smelly when bruised or cut.


Common Yarrow or Achillea millefolium is another native that will bloom from now until fall. It’s foliage can be mistaken for a fern..our youngest daughter recently said "Mom I have lots of ferny looking stuff at the new house" I was imagining woodland ferns big and beautiful..instead she just has this plant.

Harebells or Campanula rotundifolia is native, happy and cheerfully blooming in the ditches..content with is plight in life as the smallest member of the Bellflower family.

White Sweet Clover or Melitotus alba a non native once grown as a hay crop just like its more colorful sister Yellow Sweet Clover. Now is exists along the roadsides where is is a very good source of nectar for the honeybees and when mowed has a very fragrant odor just like vanilla.

Black Medick or Medicago lupulina is a non native and probably grows in every lawn in Minnesota. It is very tiny, and grows very low to the ground..in the photo that is a common housefly near one of the blooms. This plants seeds are food source for migrating sparrows.

I know bitch and moan..repeat when neccesary..the ditches must be mowed..you cannot see the freaking deer when they emerge onto the roadway with tall grasses and wildflowers.. we saw a set of twin fawns the other evening..more cute little Lady Slipper eating tick carriers to make my life miserable:)

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2 Responses to Wildflowers: July 02, 2010

  1. ineeda says:

    I love that phrase – “more cute little Lady Slipper eating tick carriers” — you couldn’t get much more descriptive, or accurate, than that!!

  2. TechnoBabe says:

    I wonder about that too. The people who work for the city mow down the wildflowers that bring so much joy to all the travelers. Hmmph.

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