Sunday, August 4, 2013

Allegan Forest, Allegan State Game Area - Allegan County, Michigan

For me this was a very fun adventure, Allegan Forest- Allegan State Game Area- Allegan County, Michigan. 

As you may know, my sister Marie and I go on an adventure each week, for seven years now. We go where we want, sometimes in search of a certain wildflower, or to a new-to-us place, or an old favorite.

Marie drives 33 miles to my home near Grand Haven, Michigan.  She usually arrives around 7:30a.m., we get caught up with each other, then away we go.  Some days we decide ahead of time where we will go and do research on the area.  Other times we can be driving down the road and decide.  We go south, east, or north, - west is Lake Michigan.  Sometimes we stay right here in Ottawa County, sometimes we travel 100 miles to our destination.  I'm not sure how all this started but I am thankful each week that we get to go.  It's fun and definitely something to look forward to each week. 

Now for July 22, 2013.

We went south through Holland, then southeast on M-40 to M-89 in Allegan County.  We call this place Happy Boots Corner, it is a very wet woods so we get to use our boots.  We usually visit this site in early spring looking for the spring wildflowers, Skunk Cabbage, Round-lobed Hepatica, or Spring Beauty.
 Here are two photos of  Happy Boots Corner in March.
Below is Happy Boots in July.

So here we are in the middle of summer, with temps in the high 80's.  What will we see here at Happy Boots Corner?  This trip I took a photo of each plant we saw blooming, Marie keeps a field journal on our outings, I take pictures.  We saw 67 wildflowers blooming today!  I will include the list at the end of this post, in case any one is interested.

The woods now are much thicker than in March.

We saw Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus ) growing all through the woods, right out of the thick mud.  Lizard's Tail has white flowers in dense, nodding spikes, leaves heart shaped.  The fragrant flowers have long, white stamens but are without petals.

                              Lizard's Tail
Believe it or not this is a flowering plant.  Water Purslane (Ludwigia palustris) is new to us and it is easy to miss.  It has very small, green flowers and egg-shaped leaves.  It is of the Evening Primrose Family.

While I was checking out this odd leaf that turned into a True Katydid, Marie was seeing purple.  Right here in these damp woods, that are just like so many other woods, was a Purple Fringed Orchid! 
       Smaller Purple Fringed Orchid  (Platanthera psycodes)

This was exciting, even though we have found this orchid in other places, I just wasn't expecting it to be here!  We found a total of three Smaller Purple Fringed Orchid.
I don't think many people come to this place in the woods, there is no trail here.  This was great, a beautiful orchid just growing in the woods, as pretty as can be.

We continued on to Sand Creek which winds through the woods.  We found a few Spotted Touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis).  If you find the seed pods of this plant at the right stage they pop open in your hand.
 Spotted Touch-me-not

Just before we came to Sand Creek, where there is a bridge for snowmobiles, we saw some white flowers with no leaves sticking straight up out of the ground.
Wild Leek

It's Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum)  Lily family. The leaves of this plant push through the ground in early spring but the plant flowers in summer by then the leaves are completely gone.  Below is a photo from March 29, 2011 of the Wild Leek leaves.
Wild Leek Leaves in March
    Sand Creek in Allegan County

I'm going to divide this day in two, I don't want anyone nodding off because it is too long.  Below I have included the list of flowers we saw on this wonderful day.

July 22,2013 Allegan County (Happy Boots Corner, Swan Creek bluff and Planted Pine Plantation, M-89 Cross Country Ski Trail, Ottawa Marsh Boat Launch on the Kalamazoo River, American Columbo Field).
Queen Anne's Lace
Hoary Alyssum
Spotted Knapweed
Lizard's Tail
Common Agrimony
Flowering Spurge
White Avens
False Nettle
Whorled Loosestrife
Water Purslane
Common Water-hemlock
Purple fringed orchid
White Vervain
Wild Leek
Yellow Wood Sorrel
Daisy Fleabane
Common St. Johnswort
Black Nightshade
Indian pipe
Bouncing Bet
Panicled Tick Trefoil
Common Plantain
Clustered  Snakeroot  
Enchanter's Nightshade
Swamp Milkweed
Bull Thistle
Blue Vervain
Hoary Vervain
Sow Thistle
Horse Nettle
Woodland Sunflower
Striped Wintergreen
Butterfly Weed
Tall Bellflower
Evening Primrose
Brown Eyed Susan
Hedge Nettle
White Sweet Clover
                            Prunella Vulgaris- Heal All
Michigan Lily
Honeysuckle bush
White Campion
White Clover
Hare Figwort
Yellow composite ? didn't ID
Whorled Milkweed
Few Flowered Blazingstar (Cylindric Blazing-star)
Tall Wormwood
Cow Vetch
Red Clover


New Hampshire Gardener said...

That's quite a list! I can't wait to see the whorled milkweed-I've never heard of it.
That orchid is beautiful-I'd love to find one like it.
You've reminded me about the wild leeks that I know of, and I think I'd better go check on them.
Great post!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Yes and I know I missed a few flowers (Skeleton-Weed is one). The best part is out of the 67 I had listed I knew the names of about 64 of the plants. Three plants we had never seen before, Water Purslane, Few Flowered Blazingstar (Marie figured that one out!), Tall Wormwood.
Whorled Milkweed we have seen here in Ottawa County, but in Allegan County that day we saw many, many Whorled Milkweed plants.
I am also seeing Cardinal Flower and Obedient Plant, as of July 27. Before you know it, it will be fall!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I try to keep track of numbers, but it just doesn't work for me, for birds or flowers.

I've been thinking for some time now that it would be so much easier to have some one else along to help with identifying things, and to take notes. You are so lucky that you and your sister work so well together on your trips!

Plants Amaze Me said...

It isn't easy to keep track, I'm sure I missed a few. Marie used to be a birder, and she has been identifying wildflowers for a long time, she can figure out a flower using the Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. I usually see something in a flower that will remind me of another flower, same family - characteristics.
We do work well together and it is great that she takes the notes!

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