by Carl Strang
The long season of the prairies’ floral displays continues at Mayslake Forest Preserve. In my first year there I am inventorying species and recording first flowering dates for future comparisons. We’ll begin with some goldenrods. The Missouri goldenrod blooms in late July, like the similar early goldenrod of Mayslake’s savanna.
August adds the dissimilar grass-leaved goldenrod,
and stiff goldenrod,
both of which grow abundantly at Mayslake.
Three species tower above most of the other prairie plants. One of them, the tall coreopsis, has relatively small, abundant flower heads.
Earlier we met the compass plant. A close relative is prairie dock.
A third species in genus Silphium, though not as tall as the others, is rosin weed.
Though many of the prairie flowers appearing in this part of the season have yellow blooms, we also see the purple of Missouri ironweed.
New England aster is just getting under way, and will extend its flowering period into autumn.
The false sunflower does not appear to be as abundant at Mayslake as in some other preserves.
Finally, here are the odd looking flowers of common gaura, a member of the evening primrose family.
All too soon we’ll be entering the autumn chapter of this story.