Early Autumn Woodland Flowers

by Carl Strang

We’re turning for home in this first season of inventorying the forbs of Mayslake Forest Preserve. First flowering dates of spring- and summer-blooming plants are safely in the record for comparison to future years. Today’s installment of woodland species has a distinctly late-season quality to it. Nothing announces the end of summer better than the goldenrods. Elm-leaved goldenrod is abundant in both the north and the south units of Mayslake’s savanna.

Elm-leaved goldenrod 2b

I’ll feature tall goldenrod here, though this species has such a broad ecological range that I could have included it among the prairie plants as well.

Tall goldenrod b

Late boneset can grow in open places, though at Mayslake I am finding it best represented in the north savanna.

Late boneset 2b

While most members of genus Rudbeckia are associated with meadows and prairies, the brown-eyed Susan is a woodland species.

Brown-eyed Susan b

One of my favorites in the autumn woodlands is wingstem, and I was happy to find some growing at Mayslake.

Wingstem 2b

The only species in today’s group that is not in the sunflower family is the woodland knotweed.

Woodland knotweed 1b

While this plant can be very abundant in forests, I have found only a relatively small number in Mayslake’s savannas.

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