Plant Progress

by Carl Strang

Botanical progress continues on two fronts at Mayslake Forest Preserve. The intrepid restoration team continues to remove buckthorn from the edges of the north savanna, scattering bottlebrush grass seeds to hold the ground thus gained.

Here the brush has been cleared, opening the savanna ridge all the way down to the trail.

The south stream corridor prairie, scene of earlier restoration work, is looking beautiful with bur marigolds highlighted by cardinal flowers and blue vervain.

Migrating hummingbirds have been visiting the cardinal flowers. Of course, later in the season it would be wise not to wade through here as the bur marigolds are in the beggar’s ticks group, ready to coat clothing with barbed seeds.

I have continued to add plants to my preserve list. Up in the friary demolition site, a new weedy but beautiful little flower is the ivy-leaved morning glory.

Tiny, hairy, and with interesting shaped leaves and big flowers for such a small plant, this morning glory is among the rapidly growing species that have bloomed in the brief period since this area was graded with new topsoil.

Somehow I have managed to overlook a patch of Jerusalem artichokes until last week.

This native sunflower was a significant food plant, historically.

Also I am remembering to look down and pay some attention to the tiny weedy species.

This is the spotted creeping spurge. It grows in gardens and other disturbed soils.

Similar at first glance, but differing in detail and family membership, is the sidewalk knotweed.

This one, unlike the previous, has alternate leaves and a knotweed’s little stem sheaths.

The herbaceous plant list is creeping toward 300 species on this 90-acre site.

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