Category Archives: Plants

Japanese hedge parsley (Torilis japonica)

Japanese hedge parsley

Japanese hedge parsley (Torilis japonica) is native to Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in North America in 1917 and is now naturalized. In the United States it is widespread but sporadic in the east and in the Pacific Northwest. It is found in natural areas, including open woodlands, woodland edges, savannas, and thickets; and in disturbed sites, including pastures, roadsides, and railroads. It grows under partial sun to full shade, sometimes under full sun, in dry to moderately moist soil. It is considered an aggressively invasive weed here, where it can out-compete native species. Wisconsin lists it as Prohibited/Restricted Invasive – Eradicate! (their emphasis). In Minnesota it is not listed but there is a program to eradicate it in Dakota County parks.

Japanese hedge parsley can be 8″ to 48″ tall, but in Minnesota flowering plants are usually no more than 24″ in height. In Minnesota it is a biennial, taking two years to complete its life cycle. In more southerly regions it is an annual. The stems are erect, grooved, and hairy, The leaves are fern-like, divided into three or five sections then divided again. They are covered with hairs both above and below. Tiny white flowers appear in a loose umbrella-like cluster at the end of the stem and the branches. The fruit is a small brown seed covered with hooked hairs that will stubbornly cling to any fabric.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Japanese_hedge_parsley.html

Inland serviceberry (Amelanchier interior)

inland serviceberry

Inland serviceberry (Amelanchier interior) is usually a large deciduous shrub, sometimes a small tree. It occurs only in a narrow range in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and Maine, east to southern Ontario and Minnesota, and south to northern Illinois and Ohio. It is found in dry forests, fields, and thickets, and on hillsides, bluffs, and stream banks. It is sometimes also found in bogs. It grows under full or partial sun in moist to dry, sandy or sandy-loamy soil.

Inland serviceberry is somewhat variable in appearance, having characteristics intermediate between other serviceberries, and having a large range of lengths of flower stalks, floral leaves (sepals), and petals. What is now defined as inland serviceberry may be hybrid swarm involving smooth serviceberry, low serviceberry, and/or roundleaf serviceberry.

Inland serviceberry is identified by the leaves, which are densely hairy below in the spring and become nearly hairless at maturity; the margins of the larger leaves, which have at least 27 teeth per side; and the ovary, which is densely hairy at the top.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/inland_serviceberry.html

Round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa)

round-lobed hepatica
Photo by Luciearl

Round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa) is one of the first wildflowers to appear in Minnesota woodlands in the spring. In early April it can be identified by the rounded, purple, three-lobed leaves laying flat on the ground. These are leaves that have overwintered from the previous year. The name hepatica is Latin for liver, and refers to the shape and color of the leaves, which resemble the human liver.

By the time the flowers appear the overwintered leaves are dying back. The flowers have from 5 to 12 white, pale pink, or pale blue petal-like sepals (usually 6), up to 30 white stamens, and a green center.

After the flowers have bloomed new green leaves emerge from the base on densely hairy stalks. The leaves are divided into 3 lobes shallowly cut to near the middle of the blade. The lobes are rounded at the tip. When young they are densely hairy with long, soft, shaggy hairs. As they age they become hairless or almost hairless.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/round-lobed_hepatica.html

Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata)

leatherleaf
Photo by Luciearl

Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) is common and abundant shrub of northern wetlands. It occurs throughout northern Europe and Asia and northern North America. In Minnesota it occurs in the north-central and northeast regions south to the Metro region. It is found in open areas in bogs, marshes, swamps, and floodplains, and on riverbanks and lakeshores. It grows under full sun in acidic, nutrient-poor soils. It is the dominant shrub of dwarf shrub wetland communities.

Leatherleaf is a perennial, evergreen, dwarf shrub. It can be 8″ to 60″ tall but is usually no more than 40″ in height. It often forms dense thickets. The stems have many stiff, wiry branches. The leaves often point upward from the stem. The leaf underside is densely covered with white or rust-colored scales. The inflorescence is an unbranched cluster of up to 20 small flowers hanging downward at the end of the stem and branches. The white, urn-shaped flowers appear from early May through mid-June. Flattened globe-shaped fruits ripen in the fall and remain on the plant through the winter.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/leatherleaf.html

Northern purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea)

northern purple pitcherplant

Northern purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea) is an easily recognized, long-lived, carnivorous plant. There are no other plants in Minnesota that even vaguely resemble it. It occurs in the United States from Maine to New Jersey west to Minnesota, in Washington State, and throughout southern Canada. It is found in bogs, fens, swamps and peatlands. It grows under full sun in sphagnum moss or in soil that has both peat and sand. It obtains most of its nutrients from captured insects. The soil it grows in is nutrient-poor and usually acidic, and cannot support many other plants. Individual plants can live up to 50 years in favorable conditions. However, its population has been declining due to habitat loss and possibly to nitrogen deposition from air pollution.

Northern purple pitcherplant rises on a radiating rosette of 6 to 10 leaves and a single flowering stem. It often forms dense clumps, sometimes floating masses at the edges of bog ponds and lakes. The leaves are modified into pitchers with an erect hood at the top and an orifice that is open to the sky, allowing it to collect rainwater. The inner surface of the hood is covered with numerous, stiff, downward-pointing hairs. The solitary flower is purplish-red and droops at the end of a long leafless stalk.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/northern_purple_pitcherplant.html

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta)

hairy honeysuckle

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) is a common woody vine of the Great Lakes region of North America. It is common in the northeastern third of Minnesota, where it is at the southwestern extent of its range. It is found in moist woodlands, forest edges and openings, thickets, and swamps. It grows under full or partial sun in sandy or rocky soil. It sometimes creates loose colonies.

Hairy honeysuckle vines are usually 8′ to 10′ long but can reach 16′ or longer. They climb on adjacent vegetation (twining) or creep along the ground (trailing). When twining, they spiral counter-clockwise, from the lower left to the upper right. When trailing, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The leaves are opposite and broadly oval. The uppermost pair of leaves, sometimes the uppermost two pairs, are fused together at the base to form single diamond-shaped to elliptic or round leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of yellow flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-June to mid-July. In Minnesota they are likely pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The fruit is a small, orangish-red berry. It matures in late July to mid-September, and remains on the plant until picked off by a bird or mammal.

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) is a common woody vine of the Great Lakes region of North America. It is common in the northeastern third of Minnesota, where it is at the southwestern extent of its range. It is found in moist woodlands, forest edges and openings, thickets, and swamps. It grows under full or partial sun in sandy or rocky soil. It sometimes creates loose colonies.

Hairy honeysuckle vines are usually 8′ to 10′ long but can reach 16′ or longer. They climb on adjacent vegetation (twining) or creep along the ground (trailing). When twining, they spiral counter-clockwise, from the lower left to the upper right. When trailing, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The leaves are opposite and broadly oval. The uppermost pair of leaves, sometimes the uppermost two pairs, are fused together at the base to form single diamond-shaped to elliptic or round leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of yellow flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-June to mid-July. In Minnesota they are likely pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The fruit is a small, orangish-red berry. It matures in late July to mid-September, and remains on the plant until picked off by a bird or mammal.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Index/Plants_C_H.html

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum)

pincushion moss
Photo by Luciearl

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) is a common, large, tall, tuft-forming moss. It is very common in the eastern United States, and common in eastern Minnesota, where it is at the western extent of its range. It is found under partial sun to medium shade in forests, bogs, and swamps. It grows in acidic soil, on rotting logs and stumps, on the bases of trees, and on rock ledges. It is tolerant of disturbance and is often found in cemeteries, in city parks, on trailsides, and in the shade of large buildings.

Pincushion forms a large, smooth, dome-shaped, green or light green to whitish cushion on the ground. The cushion is a dense tuft of numerous individual stems that clearly radiate from a central point of origin. The stems are closely packed and difficult to separate. In favorable conditions the cushion can be up to 5″ tall 40″ in diameter.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/pincushion_moss.html

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Japanese barberry

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is an exotic, invasive, thorny shrub. It is native to Japan and has been cultivated around the world as an ornamental. It was introduced into North America in the 1800s where it occasionally escapes cultivation. It is now common from Maine to Minnesota south to North Carolina and Missouri, with scattered populations in the west. In Minnesota it is common in the eastern half of the state with scattered populations in the western half. It is found in open, bottomland and upland woodlands; woodland edges and openings; pastures, meadows, and old fields; and roadsides and other disturbed places. It grows in well-drained, moist to dry soil under full sun to medium shade. It is a restricted noxious weed in Minnesota. The state recognizes – and prohibits – 25 cultivars in addition to the parent species.

Japanese barberry is a dense, compact shrub that sometimes forms large, impenetrable thickets. The shrubs are usually no more than 3′ tall but can be much taller. The narrow, spatula-shaped leaves appear in tight clusters on short shoots along the stems and branches. There is a single, half-inch long spine at the base of each leafy shoot. In May and early June clusters of 1 to 5 small yellow flowers appear at at the ends of the shoots. These are replaced in late summer by bright red juicy berries. The berries remain on the plant throughout the winter.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Japanese_barberry.html

Tall beggarticks (Bidens vulgata)

tall beggarticks

Tall beggarticks (Bidens vulgata) is a common, widespread, native but often weedy wildflower. It is native to Europe and North America. It occurs across the United States but is most common in New England, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. It is common in Minnesota. It grows in loamy or silty soil, under full sun to partial shade, in wet to moderately moist sites. It is found on the banks of rivers and streams; on the margins of lakes and ponds; in wet forests and meadows; and in ditches, railroads, roadsides, and other open disturbed sites. It is weedy in moist disturbed sites.

Tall beggarticks is a robust annual with an inconspicuous inflorescence. It is usually 12″ to 20″ tall but in favorable conditions it can reach 60″ or more in height. The leaves are divided onto 3 or 5 leaflets. At the base of each flower head there is a whorl of 10 to 21 modified leaves (bracts). The flower head has up to 150 yellow disk florets and either no ray florets or just 1 to 5 small yellow ray florets.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/tall_beggarticks.html

Lewis flax (Linum lewisii var. lewisii)

Lewis flax

Lewis flax (Linum lewisii var. lewisii) is an uncommon, non-native, prairie wildflower. It is native to western North America as far east as North Dakota. It is uncommon in Minnesota where it is considered adventive—it is not fully established and the populations in the state may not be self-sustaining. The first recorded observation in Minnesota was in 1959. It continues to spread as it is often included in seed mixes used on prairie restorations.

Lewis flax is semi-evergreen, with at least some foliage remaining green throughout the winter. Flowers are not produced until the third year or, if conditions are favorable, the end of the second year. Bright blue flowers appear from May to July. The petals open at sunrise and fall off by late afternoon.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Lewis_flax.html