Saturday 28 June 2014. Prairie Flowers at Three Non-Meadowbrook Sites

This morning at 5:38 it was 72 degrees and cloudy. The weather ap on the iPhone said it was storming(?) but that it would clear soon. Actually, there were dry patches on the street and sidewalk when I got Rhododendron out if the garage to go out and explore some other places besides Meadowbrook Park to see the burgeoning summer prairie flowers.

First stop was the prairie planting on Florida and Orchard.

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What is there to say but “WOW!” ?

So many species were blooming. Will just give an illustrated, briefly annotated list.
Monarda
Purple coneflower
Yellow coneflower
Ironweed
Black-eyed Susan

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Swamp milkweed
Heliopsis

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Butterfly weed

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Wild quinine
Rattlesnake master (a name that cracks my up, think about it, and it does look like it belongs with the rattlesnakes in the desert)

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Blue vervain
Thimbleweed and Potentilla, of which I didn’t get photos.
And, to my delight, lead plant, with nearby mountain mint. Also noticed more butterfly weed, which reminded me that there didn’t seem to be butterfly weed near the lead plant at Meadowbrook as there had been in previous years.

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And prairie clover!

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There was a legume I didn’t recognize.

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(Looked it up later and found it to be Canada milk vetch, Astrgalus canadensis.) Also there was one I did recognize–prairie tick trefoil, which seemed early, it even had pods already.

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And, still there was a patch of spiderwort tucked into the rising stems and leaves of later-blooming composites like prairie dock, rosinweed, and stiff goldenrod.

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Was delighted by the expansive sky over Windsor Road as I headed on for the City of Champaign Prarie Restoration near Neil Street,

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where there was a thick stand of lead plant!

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Also there were many exotic, invasive non-natives like sweet clover, chicory, and crown vetch. Looked like the prairie stewards hadn’t been there for a while. Odd to think about it, but it takes a lot of work (planting, removing exotics) by humans to keep a mini-prairie “natural.”

Then rode Windsor to Prospect toward Curtis to where I remembered lots of prairie clover around a sunken pond.
There was a surprisingly large number of people out walking and running along Prospect Avenue before 7:00 am.

Was not disappointed about the prairie clover, foiled by black-eyed Susans.

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Though last year there were ducks in the pond, which I didn’t see this time, though they may have been hidden. Wondered whether this pond ever was a buffalo-wallow.

Planned to take Kirby/Florida almost all the way home, but Kirby at the Assembly Hall (State Farm Center, whatever) was blocked for the Corvette Fest.

But wound my way through the all the construction on campus and made it back eventually.

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