My walking mile goes from high prairie to woodland and from farm fields to wetland habitats. It is always fun to observe what is happening. Here are some of the various plants I have found, and I will update this page as I continue to walk and take photos. Most of the wildflowers belong to the dicot class Magnoliosida, and some to the monocot class of Liliopsida.
In early April the red of dogwoods and the green of willows are often the first colors seen in spring’s landscape. The willow is unidentified, but the Redtwig or Redosier Dogwoods is Cornus serica of the family Cornaceae, order Cornales, subclass Rosidae, and class Magnoliopsida. It is widespread throughout moist areas of Michigan. Because of the distinctive red stems this plant has been widely hybridized and many cultivars are available for landscaping.
April through May:
As leaves begin to expand in trees and shrubs the following are the first to bloom.
Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) 4-8″ and found in rich woods. [family Araliaceae, oder Apiales, subclass Rosidae, class Magnoliopsida] While this is a close relative of Panax quinquefolius or American Ginseng, one identifier is the absence of a leaflet petioules. While American Ginseng has been widely dug and depleted in the wild for its medicinal properties, few tests have been done on Dwarf Ginseng.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) This short under 6″ herbaceous plant disappears as summer begins. [family Papaveraceae, order Papaverales, class Magnoliosida] Found in rich, damp woodlands. The name comes from the red juice found in the roots (blood or sanguinaria) that Native Americans used for dye, face paint, and insect repellant. The rhizomes are poisonous. Cultivars can be bought in the nursery trade.
In this area the Trout-Lily (Erythronium americanum) sometimes called Adder’s-Tongue or Dog-Tooth Violet blooms just as the Bloodroot finish. [family Liliaceae, order Liliales, subclass Liliidae, class Liliopsida] They like moist woodlands, and emerge from corms 5″ underground. They are edible but emetic, meaning they will cause someone to vomit who over eats them. Note the mottled foliage for identification.
Amelanchier laevis or Allegheny Serviceberry, is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. It can grow up to 40′ in the right conditions. Like moist soils and partial sun, but survives in dryer locations. More than thirty five native birds eat the berries. Humans can eat the berries, too, if they can beat the birds to them. [family Rosaceae, order Rosales, subclass Rosidae, class Magnoliopsida] They can suffer from the rose disease fireblight.
Ostrich fern, Matteuccia todaro, starting to unfurl in damp areas. This fern is widespread in the northern U.S. and Canada, and is used in the commercial trade. [family Dryopteridaceae, order Polypodiales, class Filicopsida, division Pteridophyta, subkingdom Tracheobionta (vascular plants)]
Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla – alternative for name in photo), is a woodland plant. Native Americans used this plant for both food and medicine, including treatment of sore teeth. It is a member of the mustard family. [family Brassicaceae, order Capparales, subclass Dilleniidae, class Magnoliosida]
I wrote about Toothwort in this post.
Gaywings or Polygala paucifolia, is a native plant about 6″ tall, found on forest floors in Mid May. Native Americans used it to treat skin problems, and early settlers thought it increased milk production in mammals. [family Polygalaceae, order polygalales, subclass Rosidae, class Magnoliopsida]
Downy Yellow Violet, or Viola pubescens, grows across the eastern half of the United States and Canada. The leaves and flowers are edible. [family Violaceae, order Violales, subclass Dilleniidae, class Magnollopsida]
Long Spurred Violet, Viola rostrata, has a long ‘spur’ that emerges from the back of the flower. They grow 4 to 8″ tall and oddly, are said to prefer lime soils. However, this is a fairly acidic soil. It is not as widespread as the Downy Yellow Violet. [information same as Downy Yellow Violet]
Sweet White Violet (‘Viola blanda) — fragrant, reddish stems, upper petals twisted. [information same as for Downy Yellow Violet]
Large Flowered Bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora, another woodland native growing up to 30″. [family Liliaceae, order Liliales, subclass Liliidae, class Liliopsida (monocot)]
Ripe toothwort (flowers shown above)
Oxeye daisy used to be Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, now it is Leucanthemum vulgare. An introduced species widespread across all of United States and Canada, now with many cultivars in the nursery industry. [family Asteraceae, order Asterales, subclass Asteridae, class Magnoliopsida]
Canadian anemone or Anemone canadensis is a widespread native plant. It is poisonous is vast amounts, but a little probably won’t hurt you. [family Ranunculaceae, order Ranunculales, subclass Magnoliidae, class Magnoliopsida]
Bracken Fern, Pteridinium aquilinum, an ancient and widespread plant grows in semi-shade areas all over Michigan. It contains carcinogenic compounds, so do not eat. [family Dennstaedtiaceae, order Dennstaedtiales, class Pteridopsida, class Pteridophyta]
I wrote an article on the ancient and interesting Bracken Fern
Achillea millefolium, or commonly called Sneezeweed or Yarrow is widespread across the continent and also in Europe and Asia. It has been used for centuries as both a food, tea, and medicine. This is the native variety used to produce many cultivars used in the nursery industry. [family Asteraceae, order Asterales, subclass Asteridae, class Magnoliopsida]
Ranunculus acris, Common Buttercup, alien. This plant is poisonous to animals grazing on it although it most often is found in wet areas. Once dried the plants are turned harmless. [family Ranunculaceae, order Ranunculales, subclass Magnoliidae, class Magnoliopsida]
Silene cucubalus or Silene vulgaris, Bladder Companion, an alien species from southern Europe where the leaves are often used in cooking. [family Caryophyllaceae, order Caryophyllales, subclass Caryophyllida, class Magnoliopsida]
Continue to My Mile of Country Road — Summer