Should I call this post: "Open For Business"?
Or "We're Ready To Reproduce!"?!?
Here are photos of 55 species and 4 scenes - that caught my attention as the path wound through groves and openings - with captions and comments.
|Scarlet Painted Cup and Purple Vetch.|
The scarlet painted cup, now rare, was once typical of our finest prairies and especially savannas.
The purple vetch is an sprawling savanna vine.
|A morning glory - hedge bindweed. Its halberd-shaped leaves are distinctive.|
Another vine - it's wrapped around old and new stems of Illinois rose - in a thicket that favored by both.
|Although Illinois rose won't bloom for some time, Carolina rose (shown here) and smooth rose are already knock-outs.|
|Alumroot flowers are a quiet yellow green. This species is typical of high quality prairies and savannas.|
Its maple-shaped leaves are not visible here. The big leaves are prairie dock.
|Here alumroot is in one of its favorite savanna haunts - in a thicket with dropseed grass, gray dogwood, hickory and grape.|
|Wild Quinine (bottom left) and White False Indigo|
And a look at the landscape, with the messy trees savannas often have.
|Here the indigo is backed up by the big, lobey leaves of compass plant.|
|Now the blue spiderwort comes in, with indigo, compass, and a budding tuberous Indian plantain front right.|
|Big old trees are worth a look as well.|
This behemoth has a history. Perhaps in revery you can plum it.
|Gray dogwood puts out handsome and fragrant flowers.|
Indigo buntings, yellowthroats, and other birds nest in the shrubs.
|Short's sedge is distinctive for its nearly black fruits.|
|Daisies are common, in many senses. They are "aliens" - from Europe. I can't see that they do any harm.|
In the short run, they're pretty, and their roots help secure damaged turf.
As the ecosystem recovers its diversity, the daisies fade out.
|Since we're walking the trail, from time to time we look down. |
The two flowering alien weeds here are dandelion and red clover.
A friend says "don't get your undies in a bundle over a few weeds. These species do no harm."
|Spreading Dogbane. Beautifully delicate. But hard for me to photograph.|
|Philadelphia fleabane. Another fine native weed.|
|Here the gray dogwood is in a thicket with hedge bindweed and red and Hill's oaks.|
|Meadow Rue. Big, brawny, and delicate.|
|Prairie sundrops has begun to open only in the last few days. Spreading, low plant of moist prairie.|
|Once in a while we stop to appreciate the present openness of the bur oak woodland. |
Somme Prairie Grove was one of the first places where this ancient, nearly forgotten community began to be restored.
|A patch of orchard grass - a European species planted long ago by dairy farmers - stands between the trail and a bur oak. We have watched the natural woodland and savanna flora gradually replace the cultivated grasses.|
|Pale Spike Lobelia. Looking insignificant next to the big daisy? |
But to an ecologist the lobelia looks like power - and the future, as this ecosystem recovers.
|Downy phlox is special. But if you can zoom in on the left, you'll see something special-er.|
Leiberg's panic grass has a little purple flower where each seed will form. This little grass is another indicator of quality. You won't find it many places.
|Wild Quinine (right) and Beardtongue (left).|
|Close up of wild quinine. Note the black and gray beetles working it.|
The insects are more varied and numerous than the flowers. How wonderful it would be one day to have a guide to their identification and fun ecology tidbits about the insects.
|Downy phlox and prairie phlox are two names for the same plant. It thrives across wet to dry and savanna to prairie.|
|Red bulrush is a quiet plant, but many people ask about it, because it lines the footpath in many areas. |
No, we didn't plant it there. It comes by itself.
|Sanicle or Black Snakeroot (Sanicula marilandica). |
Another quiet flower - a rare plant that's a survivor at Somme from earlier times.
We rarely see it anywhere else, but it's common and happy here.
|Thicket Parsley. Hard for me to photograph. (Can you send us a better likeness?)|
Elegant, spare, delicate, rare.
Here it stands in the savanna over purple vetch and mountain mint.
|And here finally is golden Alexanders itself. Most of them are now setting seed.|
This one was a large bloomer.
|Another blurry third-rate attempt.|
This species has many common names. These include:
Wild Coffee. Tinker's Weed. Horse Gentian.
|Another beautiful umbel. Yarrow or Milfoil or Quaker Lace.|
It's another alien, like Queen Anne's lace.
What do I have to apologize for? I like it, despite its lack of pedigree.
Thanks for joining in this walk of June 15.
Note to photographers:
We'd like your better photos to replace or add to these.
But please take them from the trail.
You may notice trampled trails to pretty flowers, smashing rare vegetation here and there...
... even though a great specimen of the same species stands beside the path a little further on.
Help us protect this rare site.
We hope you'll keep both feet on the trail.
Thanks for any trailside photos you might offer.
Thanks for sharing your appreciation of this precious place.
Thanks for proofing and edits to Kathy Garness.