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June Phenology 2013: Fantastic Flowers

Written by Phenology Team
    Friday, 28 June 2013
June Phenology 2013: Fantastic Flowers

Flowers are fascinating! They adapt to a wide variety of growing conditions, provide food for insects, and intrigue us with the origins of their names. As we exit June and summer hits its stride, take a look at this overview of the flowers (like the blue flag iris to the right) that you can find right now!

The Prairie at Menomonee Valley is Full of Flowers!

by Lainet Garcia-Rivera

These flowers will last just a month, since the blooming period is late spring to early summer. Hurry up to see the:

Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica shrevei): This flower is an important food source for many insects. It prefers wet to moist conditions, partial to full sun, and a rich organic soil.

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea): This golden member of the carrot family that can be found in areas in a wide variety of habitats and soil types.

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): Drooping bells with long, curved spurs give this flower a distinct beauty. It can survive in a variety of soil types but thrives in light-to-medium soil with good drainage.  

Come join our Flora Fridays at Menomonee Valley to learn about the importance of native plants!

flower-triptych-1

from left to right: golden alexander, blue flag iris, wild columbine

Flaming ragged Hedgehogs at Washington Park?

by Tim Vargo

Entomology is the study of insects. Etymology is the study of the history of words. A wildflower hike through Washington Park in June shows connections between these “ologies”.

Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida): Echinacea means hedgehog (the middle of the flower is spiny) and the flower provides important food for butterflies.

Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa): Phlox means flame and this plant provides important food for bees.

Balsam Ragwort (Packer paupercula): Ragwort means ragged plant, but this flower is quite showy and provides important food for beetles.

Want to learn more? Please consider volunteering with the Washington Park Land Stewardship Team.

flower-triptych-2

from left to right: pale purple coneflower, prairie phlox, balsam ragwort

A Spiderwort by Any Other Name

by Matt Flower

Now that the temperatures are going up and the photoperiod has lengthened, a whole new host of flowers are ready for your enjoyment! These examples have a distinct appearance related to their interesting names!

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis): One explanation for its common name comes from the sap that emerges when the stalk or leaf is torn. The sap forms filaments that resemble a spider's web.

Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis): Its interesting common name is derived from the fifth stamen that is tipped with hairs that resemble a beard. The flower is a true delight compared to the unpleasant odor the flower releases when it goes to seed. Yuck!

Blue Wild Indigo (Penstemon digitalis): A velvety soft perennial which derived its common name from being use as a clothing dye. In the fall the seed pods make a fun impromptu rattle for some trail side music.

Join our Foresty Fridays at Riverside Park for more flower fun!

flower-triptych-3

from left to right: spiderwort, foxglove beardtongue, blue wild indigo

Summary

So get outside this summer, and when some red, orange, or purple petals catch your eye, remember that there’s more to flowers – from their funny names to the food they provide to the dirt in which they grow – than just a pretty face.

Phenology Team

Phenology Team

The Phenology Team is made up of representatives from the Center’s three branches: Matt Flower, Environmental Educator, Tim Vargo, Manager of Research and Citizen Science, and Lainet Garcia-Rivera, Community Program Coordinator. Each month they provide guidance on which phenological events to look for, and how you can follow the changes of nature’s calendar!

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