Schaefer Prairie - Minnesota

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Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Lori wrote:

Hoy wrote:

The Canada thistle isn't restricted to Canada! It is a bad native weed here too!

Heck, it isn't even from Canada - we are getting a bad rap here!  ;)  It's an introduced European weed.... (so why is it called "Canada" thistle??)

Well Lori, in English the very common spruce Picea abies is called Norway spruce and the maple Acer platanoides is called Norway maple, neither are restricted to Norway although they are native here. The pine Pinus sylvestris is called Scots pine but is a rather dominating species in Norway and other countries too. And the Beatles have a song "Norwegian Wood" although I don't think they ever saw one!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Cool series Rick, very educational, some interesting new plants for me.  First of all, the second Allium stellatum photo shows an exceptionally wide-petaled form, unlike anything I've seen before, quite extraordinary!

I don't know Lysimachia quadrifolia, nor the native Lythrum alatum, thanks for introducing us to these.  Up close, Brickellia eupatorioides is intriguing, less so from further away, but I like such plants... here again it is another one I never heard of before.

As a native gentian fan, love seeing Gentiana andrewsii, so far I only grow the very closely related G. clausa.  I'm also a fan of Liatris, but similarly have not sorted these out yet, your Liatris 101 treatment certainly helps.  Too funny about jeans stuck with seed; as a kid, I would wander woods and fields, and invariably end up with my cloths stuck with seeds that had to be painstackingly picked out, not sure what plants did this, but I remember being annoyed by such an occurence.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

McDonough wrote:

...the second Allium stellatum photo shows an exceptionally wide-petaled form, unlike anything I've seen before, quite extraordinary!

I made a particular location note of that allium plant for the same reason, Mark.  Hopefully, I'll get back their for seed for us. ;D  But the photo is a bit deceiving as the entire head was about two-thirds the size of the others, with shorter pedicels.  I don't think the overall size of each flower was any larger, just wider petals.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A very quick stop, now in September to gather some seed nearby, this is Brickellia eupatorioides shown again in seed.
       

They look as though they are growing in a monoculture of Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), but in fact there is lots of diversity.  Seen in the right foreground is an odd, late blooming Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida), and in the center foreground is the Liatris punctata (probably), also shown earlier.  Hiding in the grass are other forbes, too.
             

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

This is one of many ecotypes where the diversity requires you to get up close to see :) Many of my favourite spots locally and on trips into the foothills and mountains would just look like either grass or stones until you get in there and start walking around!

Nice to get in seed views of plants too!

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Way back on July 4, I visited Schaefer Prairie for the first time this year.  Our spring was very cold and a full month late, although by this time most things were catching up, and only a couple weeks late compared to a normal season.  It's always fun to see things in the wild,  and pristine prairies are rare indeed.  It seems there is not a lot going on at this time of year, until one looks closely.

                                            

 

Achillea millefolium, so common in perennial gardens here, looks just the same in the wild.  Amorpha canescens is still "waking" its spring flush of foliage.

                    

 

Anemone canadensis can be a thug in gardens, and in the right place on the prairie it infiltrates every square foot of real estate.  But for whatever makes it happy or unhappy, this Canada Anemone seems confined to a relatively small area, leaving room for much plant diversity.  Asclepias tuberosa is in bud, and Cypripedium candidum is well past flowering.

              

 

The Heleniuim autumnale are not even close to showing flower buds, but the stems are quite interesting with their decurrent leaves.  This is the first time I've been here at the right time to see Iris virginca var. shrevei blooming.

                     

 

Pedicularis lanceolata has a very distinctive foliage, unlike anything else on the prairies in Minnesota.  Lithospermum canascens complements itself with chalky orange flowers and blue-gray foliage.

                       

 

I never even knew Thalictrum dasycarpum grew here until I saw it flowering.  Like so many species in the prairie, they are quite inconspicuous until they flower.  This species is dioecious.

            

 

                                          

 

Tradescantia bracteata, I believe - I didn't thoroughly check the glandular structure for a positive determination.   Bracteata is the more common species for this environment.

  Years back, this was the first place I noticed the European clover, Trifolium hybridum.  In fact at first I assumed it was a native, until I identified it.  Much like the normally invasive Canada thistle and Quack grass that inhabit the adjacent farm fields, it doesn't seem to have the capacity to compete well in a real prairie setting.

                                                    

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I returned on July 29.  Still very cool for summer here.  Amorpha canescens in the forground, Populus tremuloides (Quaking aspen) in the background, presumably one clone, doing its thing with root sprouts.  The natural ecological progression of prairie to forest, until fire comes along.

With all the wet weather and around 10 extra inches of rain over spring and summer, some prairie flora has benefited, but I’d say most didn’t like it.  Asclepias incarnata is one of the winners.  A little color variation in Asclepias tuberosa.

          

 

                   

Uncommon, compared to the other Asclepias species, Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed).    Anemone cylindrica is almost as common as Anemone Canadensis.

                          

Dalea also benefited from the extra rain and/or cooler weather.  You can see in the combination photos that Dalea candida blooms slightly earlier than Dalea purpurea.  I have noticed this every year.

              

 

          

An unusually floriferous head of Phlox pilosa, Hesperostipa spartea (Stipa spartea), Pycnanthemum tenuifolium..

    

 

                        

Lysimachia quadrifoliaa and Monarda fistulosa.

         

 

                        

Ratibida pinnata and Veronicastrum virginicum.

                  

 

                                    

Thalictrum dasycarpum foliage and achenes.

                                    

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

Well, 30 pics uploaded in one post.  It can be done, but I don't recommend it.  At #26 I started getting script warning with each insertion, although it didn't seem to matter.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks for the update Rick, a bounty of beautiful plants, and expertly photographed, I imagine it's a challenge to capture good photographs when plants are all mixed in amongst tall vegetation.  I'd like to use the center photo of Asclepias incarnata as my Windows Desktop image for a while, my goodness what a beauty.  Seeing these, it's obvious why Asclepias tuberosa and perhaps to a lesser extent, A. incarnata, have become such enduring favorites in perennial borders.

I'm equally impressed by your getting 30 pics posted all in one shot... the freedom in posting images here is one of the benefits of new NARGS Forum.

As a fan of Thalictrum, it's good seeing T. dasycarpum, in flower from your earlier post and now foliage and seed in this latest post. Another one that resonates for me is Helenium, one of the first perennials I started with as a boy (10 yrs old), I think I liked the common name of sneezeweed :-), and the fact they grew much taller than myself.  There's a very good web page on this genus: http://www.helenium.net/

I'd like to have both Dalea species in the garden; I'm sad to report to Lori, once again I received no germination on D. purpurea, not sure what I'm doing wrong, perhaps I need to scarify the seed.

Also good to see Pycnanthemum, I have one in the garden (can't remember the species), which languishes in too dry a spot, yet persists and blooms, and is wonderfully aromatic, must move mine to a better spot with more moisture.

Rick, can you speak about the moisture levels in this prairie area, are there dry and moist micro-climates, under what sort of conditions is P. tenuifolium growing?

 

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Schaefer Prairie contains wet  and mesic prairie biomes.  A few normally only dry or dry-mesic species are purported to grow there, like Bouteloua gracilis,  but I have never found them.  I do keep a watchful eye. 

Regarding Pycnanthemum tenuifolium in particular, it definitely likes constantly moist conditions.  In this prairie it seems to mostly be found at the verge of its low moisture tolerance; apparently, that is where it competes best.  Most often I find it blooming like the first pic below, with an abundance of buds but few and poorly formed flowers.  Except for this season, I've had to look hard for a good pic of some nicer flowers like in the second photo.  The Pycnanthemum grow right along with Thalictrum dasycarpum.

                      

 

Thalictrum dioicum seems to masquerade a lot in the seed exchanges as T. dasycarpum.  The real T. dasycarpum has much thicker and less delicate foliage, and the leaf petiole (the part that actually connects to the stem) is very short to non-existant in all but the lowermost leaves. Of course, the flowers (both male and female) are sure telltales, but if one hasn't seen the difference,  I can understand how one might be confused.

I've only grown Dalea candida from seed once in 2002, back when I took very little notes and had very little experience.  This was from wild collected seed here in Minnesota.  I am sure it got no more than a winter sowing or a cold moist period in the fridge.  But now I wonder.....  in all the years since then, I have only kept one plant and it produces thousands of seed annually.  Although I remove most of the seedheads before they "fall apart", there must be hundreds that I miss each year, yet I've only had one or two volunteers in all these years.  The seeds always look good and filled, but being self pollinated, I wonder how viable they really are?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Great photo essay, Rick!  I will be reviewing your pix and comments more thoroughly later... to extract maximum enjoyment. :-)

Mark McD wrote:

I'd like to have both Dalea species in the garden; I'm sad to report to Lori, once again I received no germination on D. purpurea, not sure what I'm doing wrong, perhaps I need to scarify the seed.

Just a quick comment.  Offhand, I'd recommend scarification for all leguminous seeds - seems to work wonders.

I lost my Pycnanthemum last year (can't remember the species either), and must make a note to grow more - the strong minty fragrance was very nice, and the late bloom (at least that species was late-blooming)  is always appreciated.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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