An undated page from the The Friends of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden claims that the wayfaring tree has not been found in Minnesota in the wild. Except that is seems to be growing in Minnehaha Park. another source opined that it had been planted near the Coldwater Spring. It was spotted there in 2013, and could be the source of this plant.
Mica cap mushrooms (Coprinellus micaceus) are supposedly edible. They are not one of the great mushrooms of gastronomy, but they are delicate and supposedly nice. This clump of mushrooms disappeared quite quickly after it appeared. Perhaps it was harvested by some mushroom hunter.
Curly (or Curled) dock (Rumex crispus). Weedy. This is not certain to be Rumex crispus. Several similar docks are easier to identify by the seeds, which were not available in May.
The European lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) was introduced into Minnehaha park by some idiot who probably thinks it smells nice. And it does smell utterly lovely, but it produces red berries that look attractive to small children, who could eat one. This plant is basically made of poison. Non-native plants do not belong in the park. I dislike guerrilla gardening. To them I say, “You’re not helping.”
The Red-berried Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is nice to see in flower in the early weeks of spring. This is a very common shrub in Minnesota.
Western Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii) is easy to spot in the early spring, with its bronzed leaves. This plant is found in all parts of Minnesota, and in lots of places in Minnehaha Park.
The American black currant (Ribes americanum) is edible, if cooked and if one likes a lot of little seeds. I would love to have jelly from these, but have not got a reasonable supply. The plant likes wet places, so perhaps elsewhere along the river bottoms.
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) also makes a fine jam, I read, and I would love to try it. I wonder if those jam-selling monks in the Keewenaw Peninsula sell such a thing? Here, the flowers have not yet opened.
Star-flowered lily of the valley (Maianthemum stellatum) is also called starry false Solomon’s seal.
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is one plant that strangers on the park’s trails talk about with affection. People point them out to each other.
River grapes, or Riverbank grapes (Vitis riparia) are a Minnesota native that will turn up in your yard if you are not alert. They can smother a small tree, but really, the fruit is nice. If you like tart and seedy.
The leaves of a young basswood (Tilia americana) spreading to shade the skunk cabbages below it.
The woodsy thyme-moss (Plagiomnium cuspidata) is easy to find at Minnehaha Park and is prevalent throughout Minnesota. It is apparently called the baby-tooth moss also.
The small-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus) blossoms are even smaller than you expect. This is in bloom.
Ash trees come with various color names. There’s green ash, blue ash, white ash and this seedling, the black ash (Fraxinus nigra).
Just what is a geranium, anyway? We all grow up with those brightly colored window-box plants called geranium. But those should be recognized as pelargonium, and the name geranium reserved for several species of cranesbills, and also this: the wild geranium (Geranium maculatum).
It is my opinion that a plant that is called a “nut” should produce human dietary nuts. That is not the case with the American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia). There are people who claim that the seeds are edible. But “non-toxic does not mean tasty.”
Not every year is great for every plant. This was a less-good year for the wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), both in the wild and in my garden.
The lumpy bracket (Trametes gibbosa), does what it likes: Slowly it digests old trees.
The pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) is also called the alternate-leaved dogwood. It has a really lovely lateral branching pattern that makes it perfect for landscaping prairie-style homes. The long horizontal lines remind us of the endless flatness of the prairie skyline.
Do I really know what a trillium looks like? Is this the Drooping Trillium, (Trillium flexipes)?