2018 was a very good year for wildflower searching in many ways. Here are a few of the highlights:
We went to Churchill, Manitoba, on Hudson Bay and saw 100 different native wildflowers in five days including two new orchids, a plethora of blooming butterwort, beluga whales, caribou, endless sunlight, and discovered our new, essential, beloved wardrobe item: bug shirts.
We finally held our book, Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers, in our hands –and so did almost 3000 other folks. The book was ten years in the making, we loved almost every minute of it, and we are still searching for more native wildflowers. We also did lots of bookstore, radio, and television interviews.
We discovered a Rustic Road near Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, along which we saw large flowered trillium, bellwort, Mayapple, cutleaf toothwort, yellow trout lily, Jack in the pulpit, wild ginger, Dutchman’s breeches, sarsaparilla, miterwort, more spring beauty than we’ve ever seen and, high on the hillside, three showy orchis just getting ready to bloom. A one-stop site for spring wildflower viewing.
After many years of yearning and one hot day of searching on rock outcrops we finally saw ball cactus in western Minnesota (though not in bloom). This coming year we’ll go back to try to catch it blooming.
Thanks to a friend we met at a book signing, we saw purple fringed orchid and incredibly tiny Hudson Bay eyebright along the north shore. Bonus: spotted coral root, beach pea, and spurred gentian also in bloom at the same time and place.
So many more memorable moments: our first trip to the aspen prairie parkland, the fruitless but lovely search for squirrel corn, more western prairie fringed orchid than we’ve ever seen before, several new-to-us orchids for a total (so far) of 32 Minnesota orchids, a floating bog full of grass pink and rose pogonia, sundew blooming, fragrant false indigo, rattlesnake plantain in bloom (!), Indian pipe, nodding ladies tresses blooming, and a gentian hat trick at Iron Horse SNA.
Our hope for the coming year: that more and more people will learn to love and treasure what we love, Minnesota’s native wildflowers.
Author: Phyllis Root
Photographer: Kelly Povo