Wildflowers of Sylvan Solace (#51 – #65)

By June 15, 2021 No Comments

This is part five of a photo series documenting my attempt to identify and catalogue all of the wildflowers to be found at Sylvan Solace Preserve during 2021. I’m doing this survey as part of our year long celebration of Sylvan Solace Preserve’s 25th Anniversary. A year-long floral study is valuable for a trio of reasons. First, it helps us determine if there are any species that we should be concerned about in terms if rarity or that could be lost through habitat degradation. Second, it may alert us to the presence of invasive species that could slip under our radar. Finally, studies such as this are also important because they act as a baseline which we can use to judge how a property changes over time.

Four non-native species were added to the list with this installment, bringing the total of introduced species to twelve. This represents 18.5% of our total of sixty-species documented in the series to date. Non-native species have been marked with an asterisk (*) below. I will go back and edit earlier editions of this series to identify other non-native species.

You can catch up on the series by clicking on the links below:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

#51 Morrow’s Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)* – photographed 14 May 2021

An invasive species, Morrow’s Honeysuckle readily hybridizes with other Lonicera species. I suspect that many of the plants at Sylvan Solace are hybrids (with many gradations as individual plants cross again and again) but this one seems close enough to the species description to suggest it is a straight specimen of the original.

#52 Wild Black Currant (Ribes americanum) – photographed 14 May 2021

The second Ribes on the list, Wild Black Currant loves damp soils and can be found in the floodplain along the Chippewa River although individual plants may occasionally grow in upland spots.

#53 Large-seed Hawthorn (Crataegus macrosperma) – photographed 14 May 2021

The number and diversity of hawthorns makes identification seem daunting, but they are relatively easy to key out to the species by looking at key features such as leaf shape and the number and color of their stamens.

#54 Low Sweet Blueberry (Vaccinum angustifolium) – photographed 14 May 2021

I was surprised by the number of these plants along the trail at Sylvan Solace. The bell-shaped flowers are a great giveaway for identifying anything in the Blueberry family.

#55 Dodge’s Hawthorn (Crataegus dodgei) – photographed 18 May 2021

The third (and probably last) Hawthorn on the list.

#56 Mayapple (Podophyllym peltatum) – photographed 18 May 2021

Mayapple flowers are 1 -1.5 inches across but hidden beneath its pair of large umbrella-like leaves. These flowers are best seen by getting down to their level.

#57 Downy Solomon Seal (Polygonatum pubescens) – photographed 20 May 2021

One of two Polygonatum species found in Michigan. P. pubescens is identifiable by the fine hairs on the veins on the undersides of its leaves (not visible in this image).

#58 Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) – photographed 8 May 2021

This species is also known as False Lily-of-the-valley for the resemblance its leaves bear to that common garden plant.

#59 Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) – photographed 18 May 2021

These bright yellow flowers pop up in the floodplain at Sylvan Solace. At the date of this writing (June 7th) this species is still in bloom, but starting to go to seed

#60 Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpoides)* – photographed 18 May 2021

This naturalized species was originally brought from Eurasia as a garden plant before escaping into the wild. It is well established in the river floodplain.

#61 Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana) – photographed 18 May 2021

Choke Cherry is typically found growing as a small tree or even a shrub. The largest concentration of this species at Sylvan Solace is on the dry upper parts of the riverbank, well above the floodplain.

#62 Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) – photographed 18 May 2021

Although insect pollinators will visit basically any pollen producing plant, the presence of small, dull colored, dangling flowers typically mean that a tree is wind pollinated. The Black Walnut is no exception to that rule.

#63 Field Pansy (Viola arvensis)* – photographed 18 May 2021

I thought I was done with “violets”, then I found this non-native species growing in an open area near the parking lot making it the sixth Viola species on the list.

#64 Autumn Olive (Eleagnus umbellata)* – photographed 20 May 2021

I hope that at some distant date in the future when this survey is replicated that there will be no Autumn Olive at Sylvan Solace but for now it’s one of our most common invasive species.

#65 White Oak (Quercus alba) – photographed 20 May 2021

Identify (most) Michigan oak species to the “family” level is easy. Members of the White Oak family have leaves with rounded lobes; Red Oaks have pointed lobes. Of course there are a few Michigan oaks that insist on having no lobes at all…

With higher temperatures, the wildflowers are really shifting into summer gear! Not a single trip to Sylvan Solace has been wasted – every day brings new blooms. I’m rapidly falling behind in posting, with nearly forty species found in the last two weeks along. Expect another update in a few days as I try to get caught up with sightings.