Easy-to-identify wildflowers

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117994022327470.jpg’, ”, ‘Red Clover – Trifolium pratense is cultivated for forage and to improve soil. Clover is enjoyed by many herbivorous animals, and its flowers attract a variety of pollinating insects. The flowers are purple in color.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117994033727470.jpg’, ”, ‘Blue Violet – Viola sororia, with heart-shaped leaves and dainty light blue to purple flowers on slender stalks, is one of our most common wildflowers. Some people, under the delusion that grass is the ideal lawn covering, might consider violets to be weeds. Wildflower enthusiasts know better. After all, the violet was voted the official State Flower of Illinois by school children in 1907.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117994026313098.jpg’, ”, ‘Virginia Bluebells – Mertensia virginica is a shade-loving plant that can be found in moist, rich soils in woodlands and northern slopes. Named for its bell-shaped flowers, this plant often grows in large masses.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117994030921762.jpg’, ”, ‘Doll’s Eyes (White Baneberry) – Actaea pachypoda may not have the showiest of flowers, but wait until fall when the fruit are fully grown—they look like dozens of tiny eyeballs attached to the central stem by red stalks. Take a close look at this gruesome plant, but avoid contact with the fruit or roots, which are somewhat poisonous.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117994037313795.jpg’, ”, ‘Wild Iris – Iris versicolor is our most common native iris. To identify this plant, look for the swordlike leaves and flowers with three upright petals and three drooping petals. This plant is found on lake shores, in wetland areas, and in wet ditches on the highway’s edge. It grows in shallow standing water or moist soils. Don’t pick the wild iris—its juices can cause skin irritation, and its roots are somewhat poisonous.‘);

You might recognize these common, yet distinctive, wildflowers

All of these wildflowers are blooming now, or soon will be in bloom. Some grow commonly around your home, others on the roadside, or in prairies, wetlands and woodlands. Not only are they easy to identify, but their names are easy to remember, even for amateur naturalists.

from the May 23-29, 2007, issue

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