Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is just now starting to come up out of the ground. Here is a pokeweed plant you can find just west of the pedestrian bridge. The first picture was taken April 12, 2009. You can see last year's dead stems, about four feet high. Look down at the bottom and find the sprouts, shown in the second picture taken yesterday April 28, 2009.

Link to Phytolacca americana:

Blue phlox

This is Phlox divaricata, our blue phlox that is a common wildflower of our woodlands. This phlox was on a wooded hillside near North River Road. The picture was taken April 25, 2009. I hadn't seen any blue phlox before that day, then that Saturday I saw it blooming all over.

Link to Phlox divaricata:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wild plum in Celery Bog Park

If you want to see a wild plum here is an easy one to find. It's in Celery Bog Park just east of the parking lot. These pictures were taken April 24, 2009.

Link to wild plum (Prunus americana):


Gooseberry bush, in Celery Bog Park. Scientific name is Ribes. It could be Ribes missouriense. Or maybe not.

Link to Ribes missouriense:

Link to Ribes missouriense:

These pictures were taken April 24, 2009.

Wild Strawberry

This wild strawberry plant (Fragaria virginica) is flowering in Celery Bog Park. Picture taken April 24, 2009.

Link to wild strawberry:

Confederate violets and rusted Star-of-Bethlehem

These violets are the same species as the common blue violet (Viola sororia) but sometimes you see this blue and white form, they call these Confederate violets.

Link to Confederate violet:
Link to blue violets:

The plant that looks like a grass is not a grass but Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum). It's not a native plant but seems to be spreading everywhere so it's considered an invasive. These plants are in Celery Bog Park along the paved trail near Lindberg Road. They've been trying to get it out of places like Celery Bog Park and Cumberland Park like they do for garlic mustard but there is a lot of it out there.

The leaves of the Star-of-Bethlehem are turning yellow from some sort of rust fungus.

Picture taken April 24, 2009.

Link to invasive Ornithogalum:
Link to Ornithogalum umbellatum:
Link to Ornithogalum umbellatum:

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Only saw one of these yesterday, this is it. Morels are beautiful mushrooms. This was in Parke County. Picture taken April 25, 2009.

Link to Morels (Morchella)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hepatica acutiloba

Most of us know this as Hepatica acutiloba but the current botanical name has been revised to Anemone acutiloba (DC.) G. Lawson. One of the first wildflowers of spring, this is in Happy Hollow Park, April 22, 2009.

Link to Anemone acutiloba:

Another link:

Chlorociboria fungus

Chlorociboria fungus is decaying this fallen log and turning the wood green. It is along one of the trails in Happy Hollow Park. Picture taken April 22, 2009.

Link to Chlorociboria:


This is Pedicularis canadensis, sometimes called wood-betony. This plant is a native wildflower, in Happy Hollow Park. The picture was taken April 22, 2009.

Link to Pedicularis canadensis:

Link to Pedicularis canadensis:

Link to Pedicularis canadensis:


This is bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) growing wild in Happy Hollow Park. Picture taken April 22, 2009.

Here is a link to Uvularia grandiflora that is planted on Purdue campus

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Shooting-star (Dodecatheon meadia) is just beginning to flower. These shooting-star are at Happy Hollow Park. You can see the flowering buds, getting ready to flower very soon. This picture was taken April 22, 2009.

Link to Dodecatheon meadia:

Link to Dodecatheon meadia:

Link to shooting-star on Purdue campus:

Juneberry trees are flowering

Juneberry trees are flowering. This tree is in the center of the Purdue campus at the corner of State St. and Marstellar St. These are very commonly planted for landscaping. Look around town right now and find where they are. Then go back in June and they will be full of juneberries that are good to eat. This picture was taken April 22, 2009.

link to juneberry trees (Amelanchier):

link to another juneberry tree on campus:

link to eating juneberries (Amelanchier):

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small-flowered buttercup

This is small-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus). This grows in about everybody's backyard. Not as showy as a dandelion though. Just those few little tiny buttercup flowers. This was growing along the side of that new road they built between South River Road and State Highway 26, in West Lafayette near the river. If the road has a name I don't know what it is. Picture taken April 15, 2009.

Link to Ranunculus abortivus
Link to Ranunculus abortivus

Redbud is flowering

Here is a redbud tree (Cercis canadensis), just starting to flower, The redbud tree looks most reddish at this early stage, the red calyx of the flowers dominate the look of the tree. As the flower develops in the next few days the tree gets a more purplish hue from the color of the now more visible petals. This tree is at the corner of Waldron and State Streets. Picture taken April 20, 2009.

Link to Cercis canadensis

Link to Cercis canadensis

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This little low growing plant is moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia). In Bishop's Woods, on the south side of Lafayette. Picture taken April 18, 2009.

Link to Lysimachia nummularia
Link to Lysimachia nummularia

Purple cress at Bishop's Woods

This is purple cress (Cardamine douglasii), at Bishop's Woods, near South 9th St. and Beck Lane.

The picture was taken April 18, 2009.

Link to earlier report on purple cress

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pussytoes and wild strawberry

These little white flowered plants are called pussytoes (Antennaria), probably either Antennaria neglecta or Antennaria plantaginifolia. The 3-leaved plant in the right side of the middle picture is wild strawberry (Fragaria virginica) These were growing in Bishop's Woods, which is at the corner of South 9th St. and Beck Lane. Bishop's Woods is a grove of pretty good sized old oak trees. Unfortunately they mow between the trees, so the forest isn't regenerating itself. But some wild things like these still grow.

These pictures were taken April 18, 2009.

link to Antennaria neglecta
link to Antennaria plantaginifolia
link to Fragaria virginica
link to Fragaria virginica

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wild plum is blooming

This is wild plum (Prunus americana). It grows in thickets and fencerows in the countryside. The trees in the picture have sprouted up alongside the trail between South 9th St. and Beck Lane. When Lafayette was started in 1825 what's now downtown Lafayette was described as covered with wild plum and hazelnut.

Link to Prunus americana

Link to Prunus americana

The pictures were taken April 18, 2009.


This is the bank of Williamsburg pond which is connected to the Wabash River. The plant with the tall dead stems on the right is cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum). This is exceptionally tall for a cup-plant, normally it grows to about half this height. You find it here and there along the Wabash and other wettish places in the county. If you look close at the bottom you see the green new growth of this plant coming up from the roots. The cup-plant attracts a tremendous number of bees and butterflies when the yellow flowers appear. The white flowered tree on the left is another Bradford pear tree, looking a little raggedy. It was probably planted there as part of the landscaping for the trail. They planted a row of these trees along the trail but only this one has survived the constant flooding of the Wabash.

While I was here I noticed a big fish appearing at the surface close to shore. It's said that this pond is home to paddlefish and this fish looked like it could have been a paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) but it could have been a carp too, there are a lot of carp in the Wabash.

The picture was taken April 18, 2009.

Link to cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Link to Bradford pear
Link to paddlefish

Jewelweed at the cotyledon stage

The jewelweed is just starting to come up, these tiny plants show the two cotyledons which were part of the seed, now sprouted to form the first leaves. Picture taken April 17, 2009, along the main trail in Happy Hollow Park. This jewelweed could be either the orange kind (Impatiens capensis) or the yellow kind (Impatiens pallida).

link to orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
link to orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
link to yellow jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)
link to yellow jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two Jacks-in-the-Pulpit sprouting

Or is that two Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Anyway these things are coming up all over the woods right now.

Picture taken April 18, 2009 in wooded ravine near North River Road,

link to Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
one more link to Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lilacs are getting very close to bloom

Downtown Lafayette this Friday evening April 17, 2009, these are lilacs just about to bloom.

Blue violets

Blue violets. Happy Hollow Park. These wildflowers are common here. Picture taken April 17, 2009.

The scientific name is Viola sororia.

Link to Viola sororia

Azalea on Purdue campus

Azaleas are blooming. These are on the southwest corner of Smith Hall on Purdue campus. Picture taken April 16, 2009.

link to azalea

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Allium tricoccum

This is Allium tricoccum, also called ramps. This is in Stewart's Woods aka Hort Park Woods just west of Purdue campus. The picture was taken April 5, 2009.

Here is a link to last spring's report of Allium tricoccum:

another link to Allium tricoccum

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Painted Turtle

This is a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), basking in the sun. The pond is just south of Cumberland Road near the entrance to the West Lafayette Walmart. There were more turtles there but this one stayed on the log long enough for me to get a close picture.

link to Chrysemys picta

Picture taken April 9, 2009.

Spring Beauty and Prairie Trillium

The flower is spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). The 3-leafed plants are prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum). The trillium flowers haven't opened yet. These are two of the commonest spring wildflowers of the Indiana woodlands. Look closely at one of the spring beauty leaves and you see a rust-colored patch. This is Claytonia rust fungus (Puccinia mariae-wilsoniae). Like the other kinds of rust fungus, it will only survive on a certain kind of plant, and Claytonia rust will only live on Claytonia and none other. All things in the web of life depend on each other.

Link to Claytonia rust

Link to spring beauty

Link to prairie trillium

This picture was taken April 9, 2009, in Scifres-Maier Woods, part of Celery Bog Park.
Link to Scifres-Maier Woods

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Knees of Bald Cypress

This is the bottom of a bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree. The native habitat of the bald cypress is wetlands and swamps, but it will grow in your front yard as well if you plant it there. When it is in soil that is waterlogged most of the time the roots will grow up out of the ground to form these curious knees that you see here by the stream. If you want to see this plant it is next to the McCormick Road parking lot leading to Purdue Horticulture Park. This picture was taken April 5, 2009.

link to cypress knee

link to Taxodium distichum

Although this is a coniferous tree, it is not evergreen. It loses its leaves in the fall just like a maple tree does. Sometimes people cut down bald cypress in the winter thinking that it is a dead pine tree. It's not dead! Don't cut it down, know what kind of tree you have in your yard.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dutchman's Breeches

This is Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). It is another common spring wildflower of Indiana woodlands. This one is in Stewart's Woods, also known as Hort Park Woods, just north of Purdue's Horticulture Park.

link to Dicentra cucullaria

Picture taken April 5, 2009.


The distinctive green twigs of sassafras (Sassafras albidum). Sassafras saplings like this are sprouting up within a couple-threefour paces of this twig. The roots spread underground to form a sassafras thicket. This is at Purdue Horticulture Park near McCormick Road. The evergreen shrub in the background is a boxwood (Buxus), probably planted there when there was an active program of planting trees in Hort Park.

link to Sassafras albidum

link to Boxwood

Picture taken April 5, 2009.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


This year's growth of elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is coming up from last year's roots. This is along the Wabash Heritage Trail near the bank of the Wabash. This floodplain is typical habitat for the elderberry. The woody canes will grow to be as tall as a person. In June, clusters large as lampshades of tiny white flowers appear at the tops.

Link to elderberry

Picture taken April 4, 2009.

Mertensia on the Banks of the Wabash

Mertensia (Mertensia virginica) coming up on the banks of the Wabash. Soon it will be flowering. This is along the Wabash Heritage trail just upstream from the US 231 bridge. Another name for Mertensia is Virginia bluebells.

Link to Mertensia
Another link to Mertensia
Link to Wabash Heritage Trail

Picture taken April 4, 2009.

Silver maple fruiting

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) fruits developing. Soon the seeds will ripen and spin to the ground. The tree is in Tapawingo Park, the pedestrian bridge puts you next to the second story level high in the tree. Silver maple is the commonest tree along the banks of the Wabash.

Picture taken April 4, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wabash River early Saturday morning

The Wabash River, looking upstream from the pedestrian bridge, early Saturday April 4, 2009. A crisp chilly morning.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Magnolia at the Courthouse

Pictures taken April 4, 2009.

Revision Dec. 19, 2009: That is likely the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana).

Bradford Pear Tree

This is the Bradford Pear, (Pyrus calleryana).  This is about the most common landscaping tree in town.  They plant these everywhere.  The flowers turn the streetscapes white this time of year.  Although the flowers are beautiful they stink like dirty socks.  Take a whiff of some of the blossoms and you'll find out.  Sometimes you will smell them before you see them.

Picture taken April 4, 2009 on Columbia St. near 5th St.

Flowering Quince

This is flowering quince (Chaenomeles).  It is at the southeast corner of Lambert Fieldhouse on the Purdue campus.

Picture taken April 3, 2009.

Magnolias and pine

This is at the southeast corner of Lambert Fieldhouse on Purdue campus.

Magnolia grandiflora is at the left. Red pine (Pinus resinosa) is on the right. To the rear is a star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), nearly hidden by the big magnolia.

Link to Pinus resinosa
A view of the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) beside Lambert fieldhouse. Same tree as above.

Blossoms of the star magnolia.

The tepals of the magnolia blossoms are just a little bit browned from frost damage.

Pictures taken April 3, 2009.

Revision Dec. 19, 2009: That is likely not Magnolia grandiflora but rather the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana). The saucer magnolia is more cold tolerant than Magnolia grandiflora and is planted more widely in Indiana.