Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roadside Wildflowers Pt 2: The central sands/transitional zone

I'm not exactly sure what to call the area between the driftless region and the north woods. The transitional zone isn't that wide, and I only skirted the central sands. But this area was relatively flat, it was definitely sandy in some places, and open and agricultural in others. In any event, still lots of great wildflowers on the side of these quite back-roads I am riding on, here's a selection.

Monarda puntata, lets call it spotted horsemint.

At the same spot I found western sunflower.

Platanthera psycodes, lesser purple fringed orchid. I came to a screeching halt to photograph this one, I need a little bike license plate "I B8K 4 ORCH1Ds"

butterfly milkweed, with monarch butterfly.

I'm blanking on this one at the moment, Polygala something... is there a botanist in the house. Considered pretty conservative back where I come from, grows like a roadside weed in places here! EDIT: the common name is field milkwort (Polygala sanguine)

Can anyone ID this rush? If I only knew a wetland botanist, sigh, they would know. EDIT: Wool Grass (no thanks to my wetland botanist friends)

I want to say this is grass pink orchid, but its growing in a wet roadside ditch, and blooming like a month and a half late. EDIT: It is indeed grass pink orchid.

northern blue flag iris

Water parsnip.

Lots more blue vervain.

Someone help me out on this one. I think its non-native and considered by some invasive... its not just tansy, is it? EDIT: Yes, its common tansy.

Spiraea tomentosa, meadowsweet. I noticed this was almost exclusively in wet sandy areas... the Spiraea alba could be found in a lot more places, often along the roadside, almost like a weed. For the record, I'm now convinced that spiraea should be planted as masses, I don't think they would make good specimen plants.

Epilobium angustifolium, sometimes called fire weed, sometimes called great willow herb.

Can anyone ID this roadside weed? Something in the legume family, about the size of alsike clover.

Black-eyed Susan has been a constant companion along the entire route.

If you see a big showy mass of yellow on the side of the road this time of year, its most likely sawtooth sunflower. EDIT: I realized later that sawtooth sunflower does not grow this far north. This is in-fact swamp sunflower (Helianthus giganteus).

Can anyone identify this thistle. Its definitely in the Circium genus, maybe its swamp thistle? EDIT: Definitely swamp thistle.

Honorable mention: a few cylendrical blazing star were starting to bloom, don't know how I missed them. Also, saw a couple awesome patches of marsh blazing star on Sunday morning, but I was too tired and hungry to photograph them, and then never saw anymore after breakfast. Perhaps my biggest regret of the trip overall.

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