Saturday 9 August 2014. White (and Other) Prairie Flowers in the INHS Garden

At 6:30 this morning it was 66 degrees F and mostly cloudy. Had an early errand to do, so had time for only a brief ride. And thought of just the destination; a little prairie planting I’d seen passing in the car one day, behind the Natural Resources Building on the University of Illinois campus (home of the Illinois Natural History Survey, or INHS, where I worked for 12 years and where my son now has a summer job).

Like the prairie at Meadowbrook, this little sample was in full bloom, most conspicuously with Liatris and partridge pea.

Thought the white flowers: rattlesnake master, mountain mint, wild quinine, bush clover, and one I didn’t recognize offhand, made a nice composition.

The unknown flower was one I’d seen on a poster of Illinois prairie plants, which I dug out and found the plant to be flowering spurge, Euphorbia corollata

Other species evident in the planting were thimbleweed (Anemone cylindrica), though its white petals had already come and gone, leaving the developing seed heads, common milkweed, butterfly weed. Goldenrod and New England Aster looked like their bloom was not far off.

Was surprised not to see any of the Sylphium species (compass plant, prairie dock, cup plant, rosinweed) that are so characteristic of the prairie. Maybe the planners of this little plot felt they were too large for the space.

Seeing native plants in a small garden is not quite so thrilling as seeing them out under the wide prairie sky, but it still is a pleasure!


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