Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Surprising Discovery! September is a great month for Wildflowers!

September has been a busy month for me and filled with many fun adventures including a trip to Minnesota! 
Once a week my husband Mike and I go for a walk at Riverside Park in Ottawa County Michigan.  September 2nd we went to Bass River Recreation Area instead.  Bass River Recreation Area (BRRA)) adjoins Riverside Park at one end and has Max Lake right between them. 
Bass River Recreation Area

Mike asked to go to some special places at BRRA with me to look for an interesting wildflower that blooms here only at this time of the year.  We found it blooming!

It is called Fringed-tip Closed Gentian (Gentian andrewsii).  This native perennial plant is 1-2' tall. Multiple stems can emerge from the taproot, usually this plant is unbranched. The central stem is round, hairless, and either light green or purple. The opposite leaves are up to 4½" long and 2" across, and sessile against the stem.

We also walked to another super secret area of BRRA to find Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid.  Usually only my sister Marie and I go to this area, and other than an occasional hunter, no one else visits this area (it was mined for gravel), now Mike is in on the secret but I know I can trust him.
One of our secret areas at BRRA.
We found Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid blooming.

We also saw these wildflowers that day...
 Purple Gerardia


Cardinal Flower


The next day (September 3rd) my sister Marie and I went to Bass River Recreation Area.  We had a great surprise on this day!  In mid August we found many gentian plants growing in an area near the Ladies' Tresses but the gentian were not yet blooming.  We had not found any gentian in this area before so we looked forward to seeing these plants bloom.  Marie tied a marker in a tree so we could find this spot next time. 
                                         Gentian plant in August

The next time Marie and I came back to this site was about three weeks after we found the plant (not blooming), we found the exact spot and to our surprise we saw that these gentian flowers were white with no purple!  They were beautiful plants, we had never seen these before.  We tried to make them into a new variety but as it turned out, they are a color variation of  the Fringed-tip Closed Gentian.  It was a very exciting find! 

We have been near here before and I wonder now if these gentian were here for years and we just missed them?  Well we found them now and you can be sure we will check on them every year.

I brought Mike to see them the next week.  There were even more in bloom and Mike was quite impressed.  Marie and I went back to see them September 20th and they were turning slightly brown, but most were still blooming.

A Surprising Discovery!


Anonymous said...

Wow. Not only did we see the stunning purple Gentians, but then the white ones. They were elegantly regal "in situ." Lots of breathtakingly beautiful orchids, just hiding in the weeds. The pretty Gerardia everywhere. The eye-popping Cardinal Flower. So many flowers. I like the progression photo of the Gentian. M :)

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Any day you can see orchids and gentians is a good day! I never knew there were white gentians. We don't see many here-white or purple.

Plants Amaze Me said...

So why was finding the white gentian so fun? Is it like we discovered something? Is it because we have been so close to the spot and never found them before? What else lurks in nearby habits?
Thanks for the trip Marie!

Plants Amaze Me said...

A good day - that is so true. I do have my favorites, orchids, gentians, Heal All, blue eyed grass, spring wildflowers, this could be a long list.
In the book, "What's Doin' the Bloomin'?" by Clayton & Michele Oslund there is a photo of Pale Gentian (Gentiana flavida) but the flowers on the plant we found were just not open.
Thanks for stopping by Allen.

Dave said...

Went looking for the nodding lady tresses the other day , but they were not where they were last year and last year there was many, must have gone for a hike. thanks for the beautiful pics

Plants Amaze Me said...

That's too bad, but yup maybe they went for a hike! We saw many this year, probably more than I have ever seen. I count 67 blooming Nodding Ladies' Tresses in 4 foot square section in a fen.
Your welcome, Dave.

Anonymous said...

VERY pretty! I wonder what October has in store?