After Marie and I left Happy Boots Corner we went west on M-89 past Swan Creek Marsh, on the north side of the road is part of the North Country Trail. We followed along this trail for about 1/2 mile in, then back out.
On this trail we found...
Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense) Nightshade family, "the round fruits develop that are a little more than ½" across and half-enclosed by a papery calyx. They become yellow when mature, but are not edible to humans. Each fruit contains numerous seeds that are glossy yellow and flattened", I think they look like bananas.
Spotted Horsemint (Monarda punctate) Mint Family. Yellow, purple spotted flowers in dense whorls with flowers surrounded by conspicuous white or lilac bracts.
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia ) Bellflower family. This is a charming little plant.
We also saw Aniseroot, Lopseed, Striped Wintergreen, Yarrow, a goldenrod, and a few more wildflowers along this trail.
Back in the car we go, deep into the Allegan Forest.
Around the corner and down a two-track to Ottawa Marsh river access along the Kalamazoo River.
Here we saw Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens) Figwort family. These plants are named for their showy flowers, which resemble the heads of grinning monkeys. I've never seen the "monkey" in this flower.
There is a Michigan Monkey Flower and it is said that, "A botanist was once served a sprig of Michigan monkey-flower (Mimulus michiganensis) as a garnish on a restaurant dinner plate, leading to the discovery of a new population of this species!"
Common Mallow or Cheeses (Malva neglecta) Mallow Family.
Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) Vervain family
There was one Hoary Vervain in the parking area.
We also saw several Tall (American) Bellflower
(Campanulastrum americanum) Bellflower family
This native plant is an annual or biennial from 2-6' tall.
Again down the road and around a few corners to our American Columbo field. What is American Columbo?
We went back to find American Columbo blooming in June 2010.
American Columbo (Frasera caroliniensis) Gentian family
Here is some info on this plant, "American Columbo is an unusual native plant that has a tall striking appearance when it finally bolts and blooms. The greenish white flowers with purplish specks or streaks have an odd appearance; they are produced in great abundance during the blooming period. This herbaceous plant is a monocarpic (Monocarpic plants are those that flower, set seeds and then die) perennial.
American Columbo May 14, 2012
It persists as a rosette of 3-30 basal leaves for 5-15 years (or more), finally bolting as a flowering plant that becomes 3-8' tall for a single season, and then dying."
Central stem of American Columbo
"Leaves: The leaves are whorled. Leaves can reach 18 inches in length. Each leaf is entire.
Flowers: The flowers have 4 Regular Parts and are up to1.3 inches wide. They are light green with purple spots. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into early summer. The top of the plant is a large panicle of flowers.
Habitat: Rich open woods and dry open areas especially limestone soil.
Range: Most of eastern US except extreme north and south. Rare. "
I have to admit it, Marie and I find some interesting things here in Michigan.
But wait there's more! We found and Marie identified another plant we had never noted before. We noticed it was something different. I was thinking it might be a knapweed, but she sat right down and made the identification.
Cylindric Blazing-Star (Liatris cylindracea) Aster family
"This native perennial plant is 1–1½' tall and unbranched. The central stem is largely hairless, except for a few hairs near the inflorescence. The leaves are up to 8" long and 1/3" across, becoming smaller and fewer as they ascend the stem. These leaves appear whorled because of their density, but they actually alternate around the stem."
"This is a lovely Blazingstar; it is much shorter than most of the others, and tends to bloom earlier. Cylindrical Blazingstar is easy to identify because of the smooth cylindrical surface formed by the green bracts subtending the flowers; this cylindrical surface is longer and larger than what is encountered in other Blazingstars."
Now we know right?
One more before I finally end this. Whorled Milkweed. We have seen a few of these plants at Bass River Rec Area but here there were many of them.
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) Milkweed family
This native perennial plant is unbranched and up to 2' tall. Whorls of 4-8 linear leaves occur along the slender central stem.
"This little milkweed blooms later in the year than many other members of the genus, and is good at attracting butterflies. The foliage of this plant resembles a horsetail, but the flowers reveal its membership in the Milkweed family. It can be distinguished from other milkweeds by its skinny whorled leaves and greenish white flowers."
Maybe just one more flower this beautiful Butterfly Weed. It was such a deep red-orange.
Time to wrap up this day in July 2013. This was the day we saw at least 67 wildflowers, the list is on the last post. So much fun!