Minnehaha phenology June 2 2019 (Part 1)

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?

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has a list of noxious weeds and Narrow-leaved bittercress is on it, classified as “Prohibited: Control.”  But who enforces that?

Creepy Jenny or Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) is another garden plant that has escaped into the wild, and likes a streamside damp location.

A surprise to find on Ard Godfrey’s dam: Creeping Jenny can out-compete the ephemeral forest plants.  I found only this one example of this plant.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) can spread aggressively but this particular example is just minding its own business.  It’s not native to North America.

You don’t want catnip in the garden.  It tends to rampage.

The native Canada Mayflower at bloom in June.

The small inflorescence of the Canada Mayflower, which I did not expect to see this year.

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.

False Solomon’s Seal has leaves slightly like the true Solomon’s Seal, though this plant is much more a chartreuse green than the other.

Clustered Black Snakeroot (Sanicula odorata) has no fan club, no press agent, no spotlight.

Had I known that the Clustered Black Snakeroot was called Sanicula odorata, I would have tried to see what it smells like.

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) was used to create the hybrid strawberry we see as market berries.  The wild fruits are very small.

The wild strawberry does indeed fruit, though the berries are very well-hidden under the leaves.

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.

Moonseed can have several slightly different leaf shapes, so don’t be confused with vines like the river grape.  Both fruit at about the the same time.

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.

Hound’s Tongue has flowers that can be blue or red or purple, all on the same plant at the same time.

Silverweed Cinquefoil (Potentilla anserinawill bloom with some bright yellow simple flowers.

Common Silverweed is another name for the Silverweed Cinquefoil.  Despite its name, this is not common in Hennepin County.

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.

I admit that I intend to collect and eat some Beaked Hazelnuts..

The lovely thing about the Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) is the smooth glossy leaves.  It looks almost tropical in the Minnesota woodland.

Nannyberry also has edible berries, which most viburnums do not.

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.)

Sensitive fern likes a wet environment.  Springs occur on both sides of the creek.

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.

Northern Red Oak can hybridize with the Pin Oak, but I lean towards this being the Red Oak.

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.

Common Hackberry is common in Minnehaha Park, where it’s easy to find mature trees and small saplings.

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.

Basswood leaves can be 6 or 10 inches long.

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.

Prickly Ash twigs are useful to chew if you have toothache.  It is even called the toothache tree because of it.

transportation, part 1: earliest days.

Background research at urbancreek.com continues on a near-daily basis. The great difficulty in telling stories about Minnehaha Falls is locating their edges. Bits of these tales come bobbing down the metaphorical creek, plunge over the lip of the cataract, and float downstream to meet the river. People and stories come to the Falls, though their tales might begin or end elsewhere. In that light, then, a bit about transportation. This is a big topic about which there is quite a lot to say.

Sepia-toned water fall picture.
Facing west: an early picture of Minnehaha Falls, taken in or after 1865. The north side of the creek, behind that zig zag fence, had been privately owned since the early 1850s.–from the urbancreek.com archives.

Continue reading “transportation, part 1: earliest days.”

Pavilions at Minnehaha, part 2

For many reasons, quite a few neighbors around Minnehaha Park absolutely hated the commerce that sprang up outside the park from the 1890s onwards.  All the commercial businesses were not equally hated. Everyone needed grocery stores near by, and James R. Hartzell was one who ran a grocery at 50th and Hiawatha. He was popular and respected. In many years he also ran the pony ride concession at the park.

But others running businesses near but outside the park had a harder time of it, with prominent citizens doing everything they could to run them out. This worked less well that one might think, though the ultimate result was that places designed to draw crowds and provide entertainments were closed down but neighborhood conveniences stayed.

The Hiawatha Confectionery in the summer of 1924. Apparently they sold everything from postcards to houses.  The place was at 4900 42d Ave. South in Minneapolis.  –from the urbancreek archives

Continue reading “Pavilions at Minnehaha, part 2”

Pavilions at Minnehaha, part 1.

This photograph is so worthy of study because the small refreshment stands, dance halls, illegal saloons, and “fakir booths” in or near the “Minnehaha Midway” were nearly never photographed. Only a handful of images from the era have come to light so far.

Two different refreshment pavilions just past the Minnehaha Depot. One has plenty of advertising, for Ives Ice Cream, Cream Soda, and Lunches. The other has a man looking down the tracks towards Minneapolis.–from the Minnesota Historical Society.

Continue reading “Pavilions at Minnehaha, part 1.”

railroad stories part 2: mapping the refreshment pavilions

the old train depot at Minnehaha Falls, and some buildings behind it
Facing west, at the south end of the Minnehaha “Little Princess” depot. Look beyond the depot building: there are 2 different businesses. –from the Minnesota State Historical Society.

Still looking at this intriguing image, it seems that the businesses beyond the railroad depot appear on a map from the Rascher Insurance Co. that fellow historian Stefan Songstad found at the MNHS library. The original map was printed in 1892, but it was revised multiple times. Continue reading “railroad stories part 2: mapping the refreshment pavilions”