Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Minnesota Wildflowers September 22, 2011

Doug (my husband) and I like to camp and hike in the State Parks around our area. That always includes birdwatching, taking in the beauty around us and the quietness of our surroundings. There’s nothing like the stillness to listen to the animals and birds, then try to figure out what’s making a particular sound.

We were serenaded at dusk by a couple of barred owls exchanging hoots. Beautiful! We knew it was some sort of owl, but couldn’t identify it until we got home. We did try hard to spot an owl during our daytime hikes, but all we saw were animal tracks – deer and raccoon.

We’re not fanatics when it comes to equipment – we make do with a basic point-and-shoot camera and a good pair of binoculars. If the park office has reference books available for identifying birds and flowers, we’ll pick it up to enhance our visit.

Most times I snap photos of interesting things during our walks and identify them later. This is what I did on a recent trip to Big Woods State Park in Nerstrand, MN. It’s fun finding Minnesota wildflowers, plants and birds in a book or online after I get home. Heck, it’s what I do instead of watch T.V. LOL!

Our hikes are usually in shady, wooded areas. Since my backyard is mostly shade, I pay close attention to what’s growing. Note: I’m always respectful of my surroundings. I never pick or remove plants. It’s against Park regulations and many of the native plants are protected.

This is one of the first plants we came across on our first hike. It’s a stem of berries with no foliage. All that’s reaching up from the ground is a bare stem of red berries.

jack in the pulpit or red baneberry | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

This cool flower was right in our camp site. I’ve never seen anything like it. The blossoms have a paper-like texture.

plain gentian | minnesota wildflower | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

I’m not sure what this wildflower is. It reminds me of my hydrangea shrub. Any ideas?
UPDATE: Thank you Minnesota Wildflowers for helping me identify this as Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis). Warning – it will sting if you brush up against it!

unidentified minnesota wildflower | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

This eastern bottlebrush grass is really cool.  I’m going to see if I can find some for my yard!

eastern bottlebrush grass | minnesota | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

This was also very cool. It reminded me of bamboo. It was very sturdy and hollow inside. There was one area where it lined several hundred feet of the path.Thanks to Minnesota Wildflowers for helping me ID it!

horsetail-scouring rush | minnesota | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

This had to be THE coolest find. I thought it was a mushroom. But no, not a fungus – a plant. The lack of chlorophyll makes it look like a ghostly mushroom. It loved the organic, decaying material in the soil. It is in the Wintergreen family. Thanks Mushroom Patch for providing info and helping me ID this very cool Minnesota “wildflower”. 🙂

indian pipes or ghost mushroom | minnesota wildflowers | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

One last photo. Although I wasn’t able to find an exact match for it, I think it’s some kind of Aster. If you know what it is, let me know by commenting below.
UPDATE: Thank you to Lynne at Composer In The Garden for identifying this Aster as big leaf aster (Aster macrophyllus).

type of aster? | minnesota wildflower | paula bonelli | paulasgardenpatch.com

Enjoy your natural surroundings….wherever you are! Ciao for  now, Paula

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4 Responses to “Minnesota Wildflowers”

  1. Paula, the aster looks like the big leaf aster (Aster macrophyllus.) I have them all through my woodlands, wherever the light can get through to the ground. Here’s a link to some more photos: http://nrs.fs.fed.us/ef/marcell//plantphoto_pages/herbs/aster.htm


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