Mayslake Flowers Update

by Carl Strang

At the beginning of May the appearance of new wildflowers on Mayslake Forest Preserve accelerated. In some cases I have not made identifications, yet. For instance, there are a lot of small trees and shrubs in the rose family that probably are various crab apples and hawthorns, but may include introduced (and possibly horticultural) varieties that make identification difficult for a vertebrate ecologist. Among them are this one

Rosaceous small tree 1b

and this one.

Rosaceous small tree 2b

Here is an herbaceous plant flowering in the savanna that I can’t get a handle on, yet.

Mystery plant 1b

Its leaves are dense along the stem and embrace it like those of New England aster, but without the hairiness.

Mystery plant 2b

I suspect it may be in the mustard famiy, and if so should be able to get an identity as fruits appear.

Most new flowers I have been able to identify, though. Abundant swamp buttercups are flowering in the cleared area below the friary.

Ranunculus septentrionalis 2b

They, along with scattered small-flowered buttercups,

Ranunculus abortivus 1b

have joined the early buttercups already flowering there and elsewhere in the savanna. Also on that hill are red trilliums,

Red trillium 2b

yellow violets (there’s a contradiction in terms for you!),

Yellow violet 1b

and wood anemones.

Wood anemone 1b

Not flowering on that hill this year, but another good find, was bloodroot.

Bloodroot Mayslake b

Elsewhere on the preserve, appearances were made by the flowers of Ohio buckeye,

Buckeye b

choke cherry,

Prunus virginiana 2b

wild strawberry,

Strawberry 2b

purslane speedwell,

Veronica peregrina 2b

and golden Alexanders.

Zizia 4b

Non-native species include tartarian honeysuckle,

Tartarian honeysuckle b

shepherd’s purse,

Capsella 3b

and common chickweed.

Common chickweed b

Again, all I am doing for now is establishing local first flowering dates in what will be an ongoing phenology  study. No doubt I will return to some of these species for other future inquiries. For instance, what were all those ants doing on the golden Alexanders flowers?

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