By the second of June the early spring plants were mostly done and gone. A large number of invasive plants that do not belong in the Minneahaha Glen were showing their pushy selves. The discoveries were so numerous that I’ve divided the day’s finds into two posts.
The Narrow-leaved Bittercress (Cardamine impatiens) seems to like disturbed ground. Many plants we call weeds are the ones that grow on margins of fields and pathways. This weed is incredibly invasive and will take over the understory if allowed.
I think I should just pull it up. I wonder what the Park Board thinks of that?
Creepy Jenny or Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) is another garden plant that has escaped into the wild, and likes a streamside damp location.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) can spread aggressively but this particular example is just minding its own business. It’s not native to North America.
The native Canada Mayflower at bloom in June.
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) is a common North American native. It is distinguished from the true Solomon’s Seal by this upright flower cluster. The true Solomon’s Seal has pendant flowers below its single arching stem.
Clustered Black Snakeroot (Sanicula odorata) has no fan club, no press agent, no spotlight.
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) was used to create the hybrid strawberry we see as market berries. The wild fruits are very small.
Canada Moonseed (Menispermum canadense) can get mistaken for wild cucumber, or grapes. This is a native, a woody climber with poisonous fruits containing crescent-shaped seeds.
Hound’s Tongue is also called Gypsy Flower (Cynoglossum officinale). It was introduced into North America from Europe. It grows in weedy places, like the trailside where I found it in Minnehaha Park.
Silverweed Cinquefoil (Potentilla anserina) will bloom with some bright yellow simple flowers. There may be at least two kinds of agrimony in the park, and this one is likely Roadside Agrimony (Agrimonia striata).
Tree nuts have never been a commercial crop in Minnesota, with the black walnut being our most reliable nut producer. It’s Oregon that grows a huge hazelnut crop. But here is the Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), a shrub that can get to 20 feet tall and certainly produces edible nuts.
The lovely thing about the Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) is the smooth glossy leaves. It looks almost tropical in the Minnesota woodland.
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) seen here growing next to a vandalized park bench. The vandalism in the park is sickening. It’s also true that the Park Board does not spend enough money on park maintenance. (Possibly because they don’t have the money to spend. The Park Board has always been short of funds.)
If you wish to identify trees by their leaves, it helps to have seedlings close to the ground. This is probably the Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra). It’s native in North America and a terrible invasive problem across parts of Europe.
The Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is increasingly common in the Minneapolis urban forest. The Park Board, which has charge of all the street trees in Minneapolis, includes it in their plantings. Hackberry doesn’t have a “category killer” disease like the emerald ash borer or Dutch elm disease. Birds like the hackberries and spread them around.
The American Basswood (Tilia americana) is an important tree in the Minnehaha forest. It is among the tallest and longest-lived. And the flowers smell lovely.
A modest, compact plant: The Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum). This was not growing in a dense thicket as can often be found, despite how this photo was cropped. I wanted to make the thorns on the stem visible.