Posts Tagged ‘Illinois wildflowers’

These are from McDowell Forest Preserve in Naperville, Illinois. Not many new flowers around here right now, but these bring back some good memories. I don’t remember what these are called, but there were only one or two plants in the entire park. In fact, I was going to go the lazy woman’s route and just say I didn’t know what they were because it’s not always easy trying to identify a flower or tree online. But I decided to give it a try, looking up “wildflowers Illinois” via DuckDuckGo and lo and behold, I found a photo right on the first page! They’re Royal Catchfly, (Silene regia) the name probably deriving from the sticky hairs that catch insects. These plants have endangered status in Illinois, so I guess I was fortunate to see them!

Red is an uncommon color among prairie plants because many pollinating insects (e.g., bees) are insensitive to this range of the light spectrum. However, some butterflies perceive red, and for this reason are attracted to such flowers. The flowers of Royal Catchfly have a design that favors butterflies as pollinating agents: They have a proboscis that is sufficiently long to reach the nectar at the bottom of the long narrow tube that is formed by the calyx, while the flared petals provide a colorful landing platform for their legs. Illinois Wildflowers

Evidently they’re also pollinated by the ruby-throated hummingbird, according to Wikipedia. At any rate, they’re very attractive!

Had to laugh because evidently I looked them up before. When I typed the name into my tags, it popped up. 🙂 Just didn’t remember what I’d forgotten.

There are more signs of spring as we walk along, all of them still rather damp.

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My Monday walk this week took me through a lot of mud in search of wildflowers.  There were thousands of them (wildflowers, not mud, although there was a lot of that, too) waiting for the sunshine to warm the earth a bit more before bursting briefly into bloom.  I tramped through the mud in search of anything else, when suddenly I discovered this patch of wildflowers in full bloom.  I’ll be going back as soon as possible to check on the progress of the other flowers.  Despite the lack of flowers, it was a soul-soothing two hours.

I have no idea what these flowers are and I haven’t had any luck finding them online.  If any of you know what they are (Judy?), please share!  Trying to identify by online photos isn’t easy!

© janet m. webb

© janet m. webb

I’ve been admiring and photographing these for years, calling them Dr. Seuss flowers for their interesting shape. But their real name is wild bergamot, also bee balm or Oswego tea, the latter giving you some idea of their use. Wild bergamot isn’t actually related to bergamot, known by most people as the flavoring in Earl Grey tea. Wild bergamot was used by Indians for combating colds and flu, as an antiseptic for skin infections and minor wounds, and to treat mouth infections, bad breath, and flatulence.  Quite a bit more useful than merely gracing the world with funky-looking flowers!

Just FYI…it’s actually still Thursday, but I somehow scheduled two posts today.  Not quite the weekend yet, unfortunately, but enjoy the day anyway!

© janet m. webb

© janet m. webb

I’m going to be taking a short break, returning mid-week next week. Where has the month gone? I wanted to leave you with something beautiful and I think this shy violet, cast into the spotlight despite trying to hide, is the perfect thing. Enjoy!

© janet m. webb

 

Just over a week ago, I headed to the park hunting wildflowers.  The flowers of just a few days earlier were gone, probably not helped by all the rain.  Pale was no longer in vogue.  Now it was time for deeper, richer colors, although it seems impossible to take photos that show the sweep of the wildflowers.  They tend to be shy, hiding amongst the green, and often in the shade.  But I did my best.

© janet m. webb

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In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends.
― Kakuzō Okakura, The Book Of Tea

© janet m. webb

I have no idea what this is (input invited), but I love the delicate little waxy flowers and the graceful curves of the stem.  And doesn’t this quote from Shakespeare make you want to lie down on the bank he describes?

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine. 
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

© janet m. webb

A flower blossoms for its own joy. 
~Oscar Wilde

I’ve been promising you wildflowers and wildflowers I shall give you.  Tuesday morning I spent a blissful, damp, and muddy two hours on the back trails of my park.  I didn’t see any wildlife other than various birds, but the flowers were still out in profusion, more so where there was shade.  These shots were all taken with my iPhone 5s.  If I misidentified any of these, someone let me know.  🙂

Violets:

© janet m. webb 2017

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