Wildflowers of 2016 - #111 White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)
|White Water Lily can can be mistaken for no other plant in Michigan|
My first flower at Mill Pond Park was the White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata). Also know as Sweet-scented Water Lily or Fragrant Water Lily, this plant is found growing in shallow water (down to 7 feet deep) throughout most of North America. White Water Lily is usually found in the open water areas of marshes, in ponds and lakes, and occasionally in backwaters and slow-moving areas of rivers.
|White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)|
The floating round leaves and white flowers with yellow centers make this plant easy to identify. It can be mistaken for no other plant in Mid-Michigan. At night and on cloudy days the flowers will close up and sink beneath the surface of the water. The leaves and flowers are attached by hollow stems to a tuberous root system. The roots, leaves, and stems are consumed by a variety of herbivores ranging in size from Muskrats to Moose. The flowers measure 3 to six inches across and the leaves measure 4 to 12 inches.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #112 Garden Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)
My next flower was found growing next to a bridge foundation at Mill Pond Park and slightly under the bridge itself. I initially found Garden Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) growing in this location in 2014, but did not include it in my 2014 list. There was no indication that it was planted there, but I wanted to make sure it was truly a wild population. The plant has now bloomed for three consecutive years so I feel confident in including it in my 2016 list.
|Garden Columbine growing at Mill Pond Park|
Because this is a common garden flower it is not unexpected that there would be escaped populations. However, these populations seem to be fairly small across most of the United States and Canada. It has been collected in twenty-one mostly eastern states and six provinces. In Michigan, it has only been collected in 16 counties (not including Isabella).
|Garden Columbine - a closer view of the flower|
Wildflowers of 2016 - #113 Honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis)
|Honewort - note small white flowers and deeply lobed leaves|
Also known as Wild Chervil, Honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis) is found in moist to dry shaded habitats across eastern North America. The plant can be identified by its small white flowers and leaves with three deeply divided lobes and serrated margins. The flowers measure only about 1/8 inch across and have five petals. The individual flowers grow as part of a larger flat-topped structure called an umbel. The umbels can measure up to 3 inches across.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #114 Feathery False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Earlier in the year, I photographed two Maianthemum species: #53 Starry False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum) and #56 Canada Mayflower (M. canadense). Number One-hundred Fourteen for the year is a third local species: Feathery False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum).
|Feathery False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)|
Information on the Feathery False Solomon's Seal can be found in a January 2014 Species Profile.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #115 Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpoides)
The next species that I found was the non-native Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides). This garden escapee is frequently found in wetlands throughout Michigan. Because Forget-me-not spreads so easily it is considered an invasive species by several states. There are two native Forget-me-not species in Michigan - both species have a limited range in the state.
|Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpoides) - note pale blue flowers with yellow centers|
Most Forget-me-nots can be identified by its pale blue flowers with yellow centers. In this species the flowers are about 1/4 to 1/3 inch across. The flowers grow in a raceme that can measure 2 to 10 inches long. Myosotis scorpoides is an obligate wetland plant - meaning it is almost always found in wetlands. Small Forget-me-not (M. laxa) is also an obligate wetland species, but its flowers are smaller (less than 1/4 inch).
Wildflowers of 2016 - #116 Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa)
My final flower from Mill Pond Park was another non-native species - Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa). This plant was probably introduced to North America as a forage crop. Hairy Vetch usually has purple flowers, but is occasionally found with white or pink blooms. All parts of this plant (stems, leaves, flowers) are covered with long dense hairs. This plant grows as either an annual or biennial vine and may grow up to 3 foot in length. It is usually found in open dry habitats. It has been recorded in all but six Michigan counties. It has also been recorded in every single state.
|Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa)|
The final three species for the day were photographed along the Chippewa River at Island Park.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #117 Common Goat's Beard (Tragopogon pratensis)
|Common Goat's Beard (Tragopogon pratense)|
On May 27th, I recorded species #96 for the year - Fistulous Goat's Beard (Tragopogon dubius). My next species is the closely related Common Goat's Beard (Tragopogon pratensis). This species can be differentiated from T. dubius by the lack of extended bracts and a stem that does not expand below the flower head. Common Goat's Beard plant grow 0.5 to 2.5 feet tall. The plant's leaves are grass-like and can be up to 12 inches long, but upper stem leaves are shorter. The flower is yellow and composed of a central disc surrounded by rays. Flowers may be as big as 2.5 inches across.
|Common Goat's Beard - note how bracts do not extend past ray flowers|
Common Goat's Beard is usually found in dry disturbed locations such as fields and roadsides. A native of Europe, it has naturalized across most of the United States, with the exception of the Southeast. In Michigan, it has been recorded across the Upper Peninsula and in 2/3 of Lower Peninsula counties.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #118 Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)
Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) is the second Thalictrum species that I have found this year. Early Meadow Rue (T. dioicum) was #25 - found on April 25th. The two species can be distinguished by size: Early Meadow Rue grows to a height of only 1-2 feet while Purple Meadow Rue can grow to a height of 3-6 feet.
|Purple Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)|
Another feature that can be used to identify them is the shape of their leaves. Both species have lobed leaved. Those of Early Meadow Rue have five to nine rounded lobes; the leaves of Purple Meadow Rue are more pointed and have three (sometimes five) lobes. Despite the name, the stems of Purple Meadow Rue are not always purple. Many local plants have green stems.
|Purple Meadow Rue - female (pistillate) flowers|
Like other Meadow Rue Species, male and female flowers are found on separate plants. Male plants have dangling flowers on widely branching pyramidal clusters (panicles). Male flowers are whitish with a purple or brown tint. Female flowers are also located on panicles, but the flowers are erect instead of dangling.
Wildflowers of 2016 - #119 Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea)
My final flower of the day is one of nine non-native Potentilla species found in Michigan - there are also six native species.
|Silvery Cinquefoil - not yellow flowers with five petals|
Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea) is a low-growing plant found in dry fields, roadsides, and other weedy places. It reaches a height of only 4-18 inches. The plant's yellow flowers have five petals and grow in clusters at the ends of branched stems.
|Silvery Cinquefoil - note palmate leaves with five lobes|
The leaves of Silvery Cinquefoil have five lobed leaflets arranged in a palmate fashion (lobes that radiate outward from a central point). The underside of the leaves are covered with a dense coating of hairs giving it a silvery appearance.