Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Minnesota Woods and Fields Edged with Flowers

Dear readers: I inadvertently posted right after Town Mouse had put up a new post on Colorado wildflowers - it happens with co-bloggers now and then I guess - so please do read her post which you can scroll to right after this one. Silver lining - It's interesting to compare the drama of Colorado with the quiet pleasures of rural Minnesota. - CM.

We just got back from a visit to Wood Rat's family in the gently undulating countryside of central Minnesota. Thanks to the generosity of Rat's family, we stayed at a wonderful lakeside house nestled in the woods.

One sunny morning, armored with mosquito spray and sunscreen, I took a walk nearby. Just as English hedgerows are full of flowers, so were the edges of these fields of corn - a bumper crop is expected this year because of all the rain. Rat's brother accompanied me on the first part of the walk and told me a few names - others maybe readers can help with.

So, hot on the heels of Town Mouse's wonderful post on Colorado wild flowers, here are a few mystery items from Minnesota. Some of these may be weeds or garden escapees - I don't know.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad to move to another wilderness area; learning the local flora and fauna is much like picking up a new language, and the pleasure of enjoying nature is the same.

Goldenrod is everywhere in abundance:


And milkweed -

Complete with monarch butterflies!


There were many of these little yellow butterflies too.


And other bugs maybe less popular


Perhaps popular enough with these swallows or martins - not sure which - that gathered on the wires.


We also saw strange flying cicada things - squat and ugly on the ground but with yellow and brown wings in flight. I didn't catch a good photo of them.

A very striking and widespread shrub is the sumac, which is in the Rhus family, like poison oak and poison ivy.


I read that the purple-red spikes are ground up for spice in the middle east, and have many traditional uses.

I was never quite sure which plant was poison ivy. I think this is it?


I walked past this small pond, fringed with bullrushes.


A wide area nearby was also totally covered with bullrushes. Here's a closeup:


Another frequent flower was this yellow daisy:

And coneflower:


Here's another yellow flower that was growing in very moist spots. It reminded me of our seep monkey flower.


It was so green and lush there - ferns mixed with flowers in moist areas:

And fields of mowed hay between the cornfields:


I don't know what this is - it reminds me of a local weed here. But I just loved the shape of the flower.

I saw various mystery flowers that were pink. Here's one:


And here's another. This one occurred in drifts along the roadside:


Here's another pink flower:


There were quite a few white flowers. Here are some pretty daisies:


And here's a bushy one:


Yarrow maybe?


Then it was back to the pretty woodland lane leading to the lakeside house.

The trees were tremendous and varied. Rat's brother said they have black oak, white oak, red oak, and pin oak. Here is one of those, I know not which.



Here are the leaves:


There are also Jack pines, elms, ash, birch and aspen, which Rat's brother called "popple" - a name I understand can be a local name for either poplar or aspen. Here is a nice clump of birch trees:


And a "popple":


It was just gorgeous. Would you like to move there?


Remember, though, these two words: Mosquitoes. Winter. Winter is very cold and lasts seven long months. And I'm still itching where the mozzies found chinks in my spray-on armor!

9 comments:

wiseacre said...

The yellow flowers in very moist spots looks like Jewelweed (Impatiens capenis) - hard to tell by the photo.

loved the shape of the flower - likely a Bladder Campion (Silene cucubalus) - alien

First pink / purple one - looks like Spotted Knapweed - alien (Centaurea maculosa)

second pink - can't see well enough

last pink - Joe Pye-weed (Eupatorium) probably spotted (E. maculatum)

Yarrow - maybe, just can't see well enough

Benjamin Vogt said...

Yes, I would love to move there!!! I'm from Minnesota, and this made me homesick! My wife and I want 100 acres fo trees and fields really really really bad. This looked perfect. A rear ago we saw a gorgeous 75 acres off the MS river in SE Minnesota that had a stream goign through it--and if sold our house we could buy the land, but would have no money for a house. Tempting! I couldlive in a tent....

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I love the sign at the end "Hilly and Lotsa Oak Trees". That could describe this place, just much smaller :P

lostlandscape (James) said...

Now I've got to run to a calculator and figure out what 40 acres at 35 cents a square foot equals...reminds me of when they started selling carpet by the square foot instead of the square yard...inflation...

I had a shot of recognition in one of the photos until I realized it was a mowed field. You almost had me thinking the "clearing" was a little slice of a greener corner of California.

Mosquitoes love me. Minnesota would never work. Still, tt'd be fun to sit out with a traveling screen porch to key out the plants.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Love those midwestern wildflowers!

Christine said...

It's fun to sometimes leave the IDing side of me behind and just enjoy a bunch of flowers I've never seen before. I guess that's what other people see around here while I'm shaking my head at the Oxallis and Scotch Broom!

ryan said...

Both posts have a lot of nice wildflowers. On my one visit, I was struck by how well plants and mosquitoes grow there.

Country Mouse said...

Wisacre - thanks for your help - think you're right on your IDs.
Christine - ya, it was nice not to worry about origins and take the surface view! A happy-go-lucky stroll.
Benjamin - I can understand you wanting to be there. While I was there I wanted to be there too! - though that was a lot to do with Wood Rat's wonderful family.
CVS - I also loved that bit of the sign! lotsa hills. When you see the size of the "hills" in that part of Min. you haveta laugh!
James - I'd love to know if you calculated it out - I also wondered but was too lazy!
My itching red mosquito bites have finally subsided, but the memories will stay with me a long time. It's always nice to come home though :-)

Country Mouse said...
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