Trailside Botany

Trailside Botany: 101 Favorite Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of the Upper Midwest

Written by John Bates
Illustrated by April Lehman
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv86p
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  • Book Info
    Trailside Botany
    Book Description:

    Trailside Botany is filled with clear descriptions and detailed drawings of the 101 wildflowers, trees, and other plants most likely seen along North Woods trails.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9744-1
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xii)

    Four summers ago a visitor to the North Woods who had gone on several hikes with me said, “Whenever I hike in the woods I get frustrated because I don’t know what I’m seeing. What I need is a book about the most common species, how to identity them, and what I should know about them.” He wanted a book of the one hundred most common plants and animals of the North Woods so he wouldn’t have to carry a whole bundle of separate bird, flower, and mammal guides along on his trips. Not only didn’t he want to carry...

  4. Deciduous Trees
    • Sugar Maple
      (pp. 2-5)

      Sugar maple leaves usually have five lobes, with the edges of the leaf being smooth or having a few wavy teeth. Red and silver maple, the North Woods’ other two native maple trees, both have leaves with serrated edges, so are easily distinguished from sugar maples.

      The Native Americans were the first to boil down the nearly tasteless sap. Every Ojibwa family or group had its own sugar bush, to which it moved in mid-March for a month of sugaring. Frances Densmore, who lived with the Ojibwa for many years in the early 1900s, wrote that an average-size camp drilled...

    • Red Maple
      (pp. 6-7)

      Red maple leaves have three to five lobes with teeth, or serrations, all along the edges. A visual aid may help you remember that sugar maple is smooth along the edges, while red maple is jagged: see those serrated edges of the red maple as being able to cut you and draw blood. Red blood, red maple.

      Red maple, a “soft” maple, produces fewer BTU’s when burned and is weaker than sugar maple (a “hard” maple), and thus is far less prized. The red maple also differs in that it seldom reaches great age or large size, and it doesn’t...

    • Silver Maple
      (pp. 8-9)

      The leaf of the silver maple has five lobes, each lobe indented or notched more than halfway to the center of the leaf. The leaf edges are serrated and the leaf is silvery white on the underside. Neither the red nor the sugar maple has deeply notched lobes like those of the silver maple.

      Silver maple, a lowland species, commonly grows along stream banks and in floodplains. Many occur along the Manitowish River just below my house, and one big old fellow stands alone in our wetland, which is often flooded in the spring. This is a tough place to...

    • Northern Red Oak
      (pp. 10-12)

      Red oak is the only oak of tree size whose range extends well into the North Woods. It has seven to eleven lobes on a leaf, each with a pinpoint at the tip (white oaks are rounded at the lobe tips). The acorns are large, 3/4 to 1 inch long, with a saucer-shaped “hat.” The winter twigs have a cluster of pointed buds at their tips.

      Acorns provide an important part of the wildlife diet, particularly in the winter. One study showed that acorns made up 62 percent of a Wisconsin wood duck’s diet. North Woods species like ruffed grouse,...

    • Quaking Aspen/Big-tooth Aspen
      (pp. 13-15)

      Both quaking aspen and big tooth aspen have simple, alternate, broadly oval leaves with flattened stems, which allow them to tremble, or “quake,” in the wind. The rustling sound of the leaves in a wind provides an identifying feature itself. Quaking aspen leaves have small teeth, while big-tooth aspen leaves have, not surprisingly, big teeth.

      These two aspens, or popples as they are also known, are the most abundant trees in the North Woods. They composed only 1 percent of the presettlement forest, but now make up 26 percent of northern forests. Their extraordinary increase followed the logging of the...

    • Paper Birch
      (pp. 16-18)

      No other tree in the North Woods has white, papery, shredding bark with long, blackish, horizontal lenticels (breathing pores). The simple, alternate leaves with double-toothed margins look like the leaves of many other trees and thus pose a more difficult identification task. The young saplings bear little resemblance to the adults, possessing smooth, shiny, reddish-brown bark that looks like the bark of a cherry tree.

      White birch is a pioneer species. Like aspen, it loves sunlight, and is one of the first trees to invade a newly burned or cutover forest. Once it’s established, birch is hard to kill. Stumps...

    • Yellow Birch
      (pp. 19-21)

      Yellow birch has alternate, simple, double-toothed leaves. (These descriptive terms, which are used throughout the book, are defined in the glossary.) The distinguishing characteristic is the yellow-bronze, shiny, peeling bark. It looks similar to white paper birch bark, but is obviously yellow instead. Saplings provide more of a challenge to identify since the yellow bark has yet to develop. Break off the end of a new twig and chew on it—if it tastes like wintergreen, it’s yellow birch. The bark was once commercially harvested to produce wintergreen oil.

      About the only qualities yellow and white birch have in common...

    • Basswood
      (pp. 22-24)

      The alternate, simple, sharply toothed leaves are highly distinctive due to their large size (5 to 6 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide) and their asymmetrical, heart-shaped base.

      Basswoods often grow in perfect circular clumps due to their ability to “crown sprout.” When the central trunk dies, sprouts grow at the base of the trunk and develop into mature trees. Each of these trees then creates root crown sprouts too, so when they die the shoots grow and the circle of basswoods is perpetuated. This vegetative reproduction strategy keeps basswood competitive in the old-growth forests so prone to...

    • Cherries—Black, Pin, Choke
      (pp. 25-26)

      Horizontal lenticels, breathing pores that look like white slits on the bark, are characteristic of cherries (but are also common on birches and alders). The leaves are alternate, toothed, and single, the black cherry being most easy to identify by the rusty fuzz covering part of the midvein on the underside.

      Cherry trees produce thousands of fruits. Humans find the raw fruits tart and not particularly edible, but just about anything else that moves prizes them. Robins, crossbills, waxwings, grosbeaks, starlings, flickers, grouse, brown thrashers, woodpeckers, black bears, fox, coyote, squirrels, deer, moose, and rabbits, all eat cherries whenever they...

    • Ironwood
      (pp. 27-29)

      The double-toothed, simple, alternate leaves look similar to a number of other species, such as yellow birch, and so are difficult to use alone as a final identifying characteristic. But the bark helps in identification; its narrow vertical stripping shreds away from the trunk rather unlike that of any other understory tree. And the fruits give away the identity completely—the flattened nuts are each enclosed in a 1/2-inch long papery bag. The bags form an elongated cluster of sacks, each overlapping the other. The male and female flowers hang in separate clusters of cylinder-shaped catkins and appear along with...

    • Black Ash
      (pp. 30-32)

      Ashes are easily identified because they are just about the only tree in the North Woods with opposite compound leaves that are pinnate—the leaflets grow out from the center midrib (the long stem around which the compound leaves are all attached) in a featherlike pattern. Among tree species in the North Woods only maples, ash, and dogwoods have opposite leaves—the acronym MAD (maple, ash, dogwood) helps one to remember this triad. Green ash(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)occurs throughout the North Woods, and white ash(Fraxinus americana)appears in northern Michigan and eastward but seldom in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota....

  5. Conifers
    • Eastern Hemlock
      (pp. 34-36)

      The hemlock’s needles spread out in a flat spray like those of balsam fir; however, hemlock needles have a very short stem that attaches them to the twig, and balsam has no stem. Remember the phrase, “hemlock has a stemlock.” Hemlock has a more lacy look than balsam.

      Hemlocks are usually found in old-growth forests. Their ability to withstand shade allows 1-inch saplings to remain alive for one hundred years or more while awaiting their chance for an opening in the canopy. Some 2-inch and 3-inch saplings have been found to be two hundred years old.

      Mature hemlocks can reach...

    • Balsam Fir
      (pp. 37-38)

      The flat, blunt needles, ¾ to 1¼ inches long, are arranged in flat sprays, with no stem attachment to the twig. Balsam needles are coarser than the lacy needles of the hemlock.

      Very shade tolerant and able to “wait its turn” for a gap in the canopy, balsam is a common understory tree maturing forests. Balsams are often found in dense stands where their growth potential has been released by a cutting of the overstory trees.

      The 2- to 4-inch cones of balsam fir stand erect on the branches, unlike those of any other conifer in the North Woods. When...

    • White Pine
      (pp. 39-41)

      Five needles in a cluster (five letters in “white”—five needles in a bundle) is all you need to know. White pine also has a feathery, lacy look.

      White pines speak an ancient language, one that can still be heard but only from the tiny remnant stands that chance or private ownership preserved. The sound of wind in an old white pine is like waves falling back along a sand beach, like a hare racing over powder snow, like a mother comforting a waking baby, “ssshhh, ssshhh.” And the silence of a heavy snow in an ancient stand of white...

    • Red Pine
      (pp. 42-44)

      Red pine has two needles in a bundle, and each needle is 4 to 6 inches long, creating a coarse look compared to the lacy needles of the white pine. The bark is a scaly reddish brown.

      Red pines do quite well throughout the natural forest in the North Woods, outcompeting many other trees on sandy, gravely soil. Commonly 60 to 90 feet tall, they set records of 150 feet in height, 4 feet in diameter, and 300 years in age. Red pines flourish in open sunny conditions, and seed in after fires, often producing even-aged stands.

      Red pines seem...

    • Jack Pine
      (pp. 45-46)

      Like red pine, jack pine has two needles in a bundle, but they are usually only 1-½ to 2 inches long, much shorter than the needles in red pine. Incurved cones also distinguish jack pine from white and red pine, both of which have straight cones.

      The most northern of our pines, reaching far into Canada, jack pines love full sun and the open habitat that follow forest fires. Their cones are sealed tight by resin that softens and allows the cone to open only when 116 degrees is reached. The cones do not drop off the tree every year...

    • Black Spruce
      (pp. 47-48)

      Black spruce has shorter needles, ¼ to ½ inch long, than white spruce and smaller, rounder cones. All spruce needles roll in your fingers even though they are four-sided; balsam fir and hemlock are flat and won’t roll. Spruce branches look like a bottle brush because of the way the needles wind tightly all around the woody stems.

      Black spruce generally wins no prizes for grace of design, majesty of size, or beauty of foliage. In fact, often they look almost dead. Narrowly pyramidal in shape, and often with all the lower branches dead and covered with lichens, many black...

    • White Spruce
      (pp. 49-50)

      White spruce needles are ½ to ¾ inch long, a bit longer than black spruce’s. The needles are four-sided and rollable between your fingers like black spruce’s, but white spruce is seldom found in bogs like black spruce.

      White spruce is truly a tree of the North, ranging far up into Canada and Alaska and acting as the dominant tree species, along with balsam fir, of the boreal forest. It can handle the minus-60-degree temperatures and the heavy snow loads with relative ease. The tightly wound waxy needles hold moisture in, preventing desiccation and death in winter winds.

      Spruce use...

    • White Cedar
      (pp. 51-52)

      The flattened needles, with scales that overlap like shingles on a roof, easily distinguish cedar from other North Woods trees. Cedar bark shreds in vertical strips, an additional identifying characteristic.

      Arborvitae, Latin for “tree of life,” is another name for white cedar, the name originating from the tree’s use by Jacques Carrier in the 1500s as a remedy for scurvy. But an equally good reason for the name is cedar’s ability to continue growing after it has been knocked over by wind or snow. Even though the tree may be lying flat on the ground, new roots will grow down...

    • Tamarack
      (pp. 53-54)

      Tamaracks really can’t be confused with any other tree in the North Woods. The twelve to twenty needles in a bundle growing in a starburst on a raised spur makes tamarack unique. Tamarack is our only deciduous conifer, turning gold in the autumn and losing its needles (though all conifers lose their needles over the course of several years).

      Tamaracks are dominant bog dwellers along with black spruce, somehow having developed a liking for the cold, acid, nutrient-poor conditions a bog offers. In the sphagnum moss mat of the bog, roots penetrate only a minimum depth. Tamarack responds by producing...

  6. Shrubs
    • Staghorn Sumac
      (pp. 56-57)

      Staghorn sumac reaches up to 15 feet tall, with alternate, long, compound leaves and eleven to nineteen toothed leaflets. The fruits in the fall are very large (up to 1 foot long), bright red clusters of fuzzy seeds. The twigs and leaf stalks look and feel velvety, much like the downy antlers of a buck “in velvet,” hence the name staghorn. Note: Poison sumac is found in southern counties of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, and generally need not be a concern in the North Woods.

      Staghorn sumac blazes red, orange, and purple along many highways in the autumn, and because...

    • Blackberries/Red Raspberries
      (pp. 58-60)

      Blackberries and raspberries grow on tall (3 to 8 feet) arching shrubs with compound leaves, each with three to seven toothed leaflets, usually three in a feather shape on raspberries and five in a fan shape on blackberries. Both species have prickles, but raspberries’ round, bristly stems, like stiff hairs, have a hard time drawing blood, whereas blackberries’ angular, stoutly barbed stems do an excellent job of ripping skin and clothing.

      Both produce white flowers in May and June. In a good year, raspberries provide a wealth of fruit in late July, and blackberries offer their bounty in August. Every...

    • Red Osier Dogwood
      (pp. 61-62)

      The shiny, fire-engine red bark on the twigs and branches distinguishes this dogwood from all other shrubs in the North Woods (though the stems may be more greenish in summer). As with all dogwoods, the leaves are smooth along the entire edge, the veins all curve up toward the tip of the leaf, and the simple leaves are opposite (all dogwood leaves are opposite except, obviously, the alternate-leafed dogwood). Cut through a twig, and the pith is white. Red osier dogwood flowers are small, white, and not particularly fragrant. Arranged in flat-topped clusters, they appear in late May to June....

    • Beaked Hazelnut
      (pp. 63-64)

      The most common shrub of northern dry forests, hazelnuts grow in a clump of slender stems 4 to 12 feet tall, with alternate, finely toothed, heart-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in the autumn. The beige male catkins emerge in the fall and hang all winter until they expand in the spring to release their pollen. Hazelnut blossoms in very early spring, as early as any plant in the North Woods, the female flowers emerging from the buds in beautiful tiny scarlet hairs (the stigmas). The fruits identify the shrub—bristly husks with long tubular beaks enclose edible nuts that...

    • Highbush Cranberry
      (pp. 65-67)

      An 8- to 17-foot-high arching shrub that grows mostly in and along wetlands, the highbush cranberry has distinctive opposite, toothed leaves. The three longpointed lobes (trilobum) give the appearance of a red maple. The fall leaves turn a lustrous scarlet.

      In June, the white flowers bloom in umbrellashaped clusters measuring 3 to 4 inches across. The outer, larger flowers are sterile (they have no pistils or stamens), while the inner, smaller flowers are fertile. Perhaps the outer flowers serve as the billboard advertisement to wandering insects seeking pollen. The soft fruits begin as a yellow berry in September, eventually turn...

    • Willow
      (pp. 68-70)

      Willow leaves generally grow long and thin, and are pointed at the tip, or lanceolate (like a lance). All willows have simple alternate leaves, and their buds are covered by a single scale that forms a hoodlike covering. The buds lie pressed against the twig, another unusual feature, and appear in midsummer, remaining over the winter until spring. With over fifty species of willow in the eastern United States (three hundred species in the genus), many of which hybridize or are highly variable, identifying specific species of willow tries the patience of the best of botanists.

      Willow flowers produce nectar...

    • Tag or Speckled Alder
      (pp. 71-72)

      This tall (usually 8 to 20 feet high), wetland shrub has bronze-brown stems dotted with white linear lenticels or speckles. (Hence the name speckled alder). The leaves are finely toothed and elliptical, but the stalked buds provide a defining trait, as do the dark fruits, which look like tiny pinecones and remain on the plant nearly all year around. The male catkins form in the fall and wait out the winter until they expand with pollen in the early spring. The early spring flowers blossom before the leaves appear and offer little color, the males hanging in long catkins and...

    • Blueberry
      (pp. 73-74)

      This low, many-branched shrub has small, shortstalked, alternate leaves that are usually pointed and toothed, though some varieties are smooth edged. The slender twigs often zigzag back and forth, and are covered with “warts,” little raised speckles best seen with a hand lens. The small flowers look like hanging lanterns and bloom white or faintly pink, usually from mid-May into June, while the fruits are often ready for picking in July. The berries, first green, slowly redden, and eventually turn blue-black, often with a whitish bloom. The seeds within the fruits are so tiny that most people don’t even notice...

    • Sweet Gale
      (pp. 75-76)

      Sweet gale is a 3- to 6-foot-high shrub with narrow wedge-shaped alternate leaves that become toothed near the rounded tip. The flowers bloom in May to June in rather inconspicuous short catkins and develop into equally inconspicuous small nutlets in July. The most distinguishing characteristic of sweet gale is its spicy fragrance, coming from yellow resin dots on the leaves (use a hand lens to see them well). In winter, a season usually bereft of many natural odors, if you rub sweet gale’s buds and catkins, the strong scent will burst forth.

      Sweet gale grows along the edges of lakes,...

    • Maple-leaved Viburnum
      (pp. 77-78)

      This small (3 to 6 feet), graceful shrub has opposite, toothed, three-lobed leaves that are rather velvety underneath and look much like the leaves of a high bush cranberry or a red maple. The white flowers blossom in late June in an upright, thin umbrella cluster, and ripen in September into first red, then purple-black, somewhat flat fruits.

      Maple-leaved viburnum prospers in the rocky shade of dry deciduous forests, often growing in clusters due to its rootstocks’ vegetative reproductive abilities. Its beauty stands out in late June when the creamy flower clusters are near eye level, in early autumn when...

    • Thimbleberry
      (pp. 79-80)

      Thimblebeny, a 3- to 6-foot-tall shrub, has very large (up to 8 inches wide), lobed maplelike leaves that are alternate (maples have opposite leaves). The only other shrubs with alternate maplelike leaves are currants and gooseberries, but their leaves are much smaller. The five-petaled white flowers appear on thornless branches and are often nearly an inch across, blooming in June. The red fruits appear in August, and when pulled off the stem are rounded like a bowl, or like a thimble—they do in fact fit nicely on the tip of a finger.

      Thimblebeny grows in hardwood forests, especially at...

    • Sweet Fern
      (pp. 81-82)

      This flowering shrub, usually 1 to 3 feet tall and heavily branched near the top, is not really a fern, despite its name. It has slender, round lobed, often sticky leaves that resemble a fern. Smell the highly aromatic leaves by crushing one in your hand; that sagelike scent easily identifies sweet fern and gives it its other common name, Indian sage. Many people, when the aroma is called to their attention, remark that they’ve smelled that scent for years but never known what it was.

      Sweet fern produces separate male and female flowers in the spring before the leaves...

  7. Early Spring Wildflowers
    • Trailing Arbutus
      (pp. 84-85)

      Stretching along the forest floor up to 15 feet in length, trailing arbutus is a tough woody vine with hairy branches and alternate, oval, thick leaves that are leathery and evergreen. The flowers blossom in pink and white waxy clusters, each flower ¾ inch across and forming a tube with five petals flaring out. Few flowers are as intensely fragrant, and on occasions when arbutus blooms with the snow still on the ground, the sweet scent brings the message of spring.

      In 1880 William Gibson claimed, “No other flower can breathe the perfume of the arbutus, that earthy, spicy fragrance,...

    • Wood Anemone
      (pp. 86-87)

      An early spring flower of open woodlands, the wood anemone has a delicate single blossom that tops a 4 to 8 inch stem and has five (sometimes four) petallike white sepals that are often tinged with pinkpurple. Three long-stemmed leaves branch off in a whorl midway up the main stem into three to five deeply toothed leaflets.

      Ancient literature makes many allusions to anemones. Ancient Greeks called the windanemos,and viewed wood anemones as harbingers of spring. In fact, the anemone’s common name, windflower, arose from Pliney’s assertion that only the spring wind could open anemones. The Greeks further...

    • Marsh Marigold
      (pp. 88-89)

      In May marsh marigolds carpet wet areas, their brilliant yellow flowers set off by large dark green leaves. The waxy flowers topping long stems have five to nine sepals (no petals) arranged in a shallow cup, creating the overall effect of a large buttercup. The leaves are glossy, roundish to kidney-shaped, and are held up by thick succulent stems.

      When blooming the profusion of marsh marigold flowers in wet areas creates a “yellow brick road” effect in the woods. One naturalist wrote that marsh marigolds were so abundant along streams that the ground appeared to be paved with gold. The...

    • Blue-bead Lily
      (pp. 90-91)

      The tall (2 feet), leafless, flower stalk carries three to six nodding, bell-like blossoms, rising from three large leaves. The soft yellow-green color of the flowers resembles young corn, giving rise to another common name, corn lily. Each leaf is long (up to 10 inches), glossy spotless green, and narrowly oval with all the veins flowing in an arc to the blunt leaf tip.Deep blue beadlike fruits project from a single upright stalk in August, providing an easy reminder of the common name.

      The species nameborealistrumpets that this is a plant of the North Country. Blue-bead lily blooms...

    • Hepatica
      (pp. 92-93)

      Hepatica may be the earliest of all upland forest wildflowers. Its flowers of widely varying colors (lavender to purple to pink to white) precede the leaves by many days. The distinctive evergreen leaves are hairy, leathery, and three-lobed, and either rounded or pointed depending on the species. The 3- to 6-inch stem of the flower rises from the ground layer and is quite furry, supporting a cup-shaped flower with five to twelve “petals”—they are really sepals, but only botanists care to note the difference.

      Tannin, which can be extracted from the leaves with alcohol, is believed to have some...

    • Gaywing
      (pp. 94-95)

      This unusual orchidlike flower, purple or rose colored, grows low to the ground (2 to 6 inches), arising on a short stem from a whorl of upper leaves. The flowers look like tiny airplanes with two flaring purplepink wings (sepals), a fuselage made up of petals united into a tube, and a propellerlike bushy fringe at the tip. The leaves are oval, untoothed, and shiny (similar to wintergreen), and grow at the summit of the plant, with tiny scalelike leaves below.

      Flowering in May and early June in damp, shady woods, and often in colonies, gaywings look like “a flock...

    • Spring Beauty
      (pp. 96-97)

      This early spring ephemeral, less than 1 foot tall, usually has two opposite, long oval, deep green leaves halfway up a single stem. Spring beauties are graced with a small cluster of pale pink flowers with deep red veins that give the blossom a peppermintstriped-candy look. The peppermint lines serve as pollen guides that insects follow to the nectaries. Even an apparently all-white spring beauty shows a stripe when seen in ultraviolet light.

      The genus name honors John Clayton, an early American botanist. The otherClaytoniaspecies,virginica,seldom reaches into the North Woods, and when it does, is easily...

    • Bloodroot
      (pp. 98-100)

      Few flowers can compete with the beauty of the bloodroot’s early spring blossom. Usually just one waxy white flower, at first wrapped in a leaf-cloak, rises 6 to 10 inches with eight showy petals (rarely, up to twelve) embellished with numerous golden-orange stamens. The petals expand flat in the morning, become erect by late afternoon, close by evening, and are sensitive to weather changes, closing up when it’s cold or cloudy. If picked, the flower almost immediately closes, or the petals drop. The lower part of the stem is sheathed, and the single smooth, large leaf is rounded, with five...

    • Trout Lily
      (pp. 101-102)

      Trout lily has two smooth, shiny, long, and narrow leaves that are mottled purple, brown, and white—the mottling resembles the marking on a brook trout, hence the name. Usually a solitary light yellow flower with six reflexed petals (actually three sepals and three petals) nods from a single stem. A deeply buried (6 to 15 inches down) smooth white bulb sends out numerous clonal shoots, each shoot soon producing its own new bulb, so trout lily usually grows in extensive colonies, often to the exclusion of other plants.

      Trout lily favors hardwood forests or bottomlands, preferring a rich neutral...

    • Sessile-leaved Bellwort
      (pp. 103-104)

      Bellwort has a single, sheathed stem 4 to 12 inches tall that forks about halfway up, one stem producing only leaves, the other stem producing the solitary, drooping, straw-colored flower. Blooming in May and looking wilted immediately, the upside-down bell-like flower has six long parts that overlap and flare out at the bottom. The narrow leaves, pale underneath, clasp around the stem but aren’t pierced by the stem, and are of typical lily appearance, with the veins all in parallel arcs rising to the pointed leaf tip. The flower drops away after one week, and the stem stiffens so much...

  8. Late Spring Wildflowers
    • Barren Strawberry
      (pp. 106-107)

      The bright yellow, five-petaled flowers bear many stamens and appear in May to early June. They often grow profusely in the acid soils of pine forests. Several flowers usually group together at the top of a naked flowering stalk. The leaves look very similar to wild strawberry’s, being compound and having three toothed leaflets at the end of a long slender stalk, but are shorter and more wedge-shaped. The big difference between the two plants, evident in the name, is that the barren strawberry lacks runners and strawberries, instead producing a dry, nondescript fruit that no one would bother to...

    • Wild Strawberry
      (pp. 108-109)

      This creeping vine has three hairy, dark green leaflets, each with coarse-toothed margins. It produces a white, five-petaled flower. The fruit is much smaller than that of a cultivated strawberry, often barely a bite, but is far superior in flavor. Look for wild strawberries during late June and July in dry open habitats.

      Humans, of course, are not the only ones to relish the flavor of strawberries. Thirty-one species of birds and mammals, from cedar waxwings to rabbits to deer, gather strawberries as well.

      The leaves make a gentle tea, and the Ojibwa used the boiled roots as a digestive...

    • Oxeye Daisy
      (pp. 110-111)

      The leaves of the oxeye daisy are dark green, 2 to 3 inches long, and roughly toothed. The 2-inch-wide daisy flower, a prolific resident of roadsides and open fields, is borne on a two to three foot unbranched stem that waves above its shorter compatriot, hawkweed. Daisies belong to the composite family, named for the fact that each flower is a composite of tiny disk flowers (making up the yellow center) and twenty to thirty ray flowers (the white “petals”). Each “petal” is an individual flower leading to a yellow tubular floret in the center of the eye, containing the...

    • Starflower
      (pp. 112-113)

      Starflowers with five to seven snow white petals on thin stems, and seven delicate threadlike stamens rising from the center of each flower, resemble sharppointed stars. The long, tapered leaves are also in a starlike whorl below the flower, accenting the blossom. This rather small (3 to 9 inches), deep-woodland flower usually has only one or two fragile-appearing “stars” per plant, but the blossoms often hang on until July.

      The nameborealisrefers to the northern boreal forest where starflower is customarily found(Boreaswas the ancient Greek personification of the north wind).Trientalisis Latin for “one-third of a...

    • Large-flowered Trillium
      (pp. 114-116)

      With three leaves, three sepals, and three petals, the tall (8 to 14 inches), white flower is so striking, and often so numerous in a rich woods, that at first glance it is hard to see anything else but trilliums. Erect and unbranched, the solitary stem arises from a deeply buried large, coarse bulb that supports a single showy flower. The blossom spreads 2 to 4 inches and is balanced by narrow and shorter dark green sepals that provide a contrasting background. The whorled smooth leaves extend 6 inches or more and are half again as wide, with prominent veins....

    • Bunchberry
      (pp. 117-118)

      A common, low (3 to 9 inches) resident of cool, moist open woods and lowlands, the bunchberry is easily recognized by its whorl of four to six leaves on a single stalk, each leaf having parallel veins running from one end of the leaf to the other. Flowering in June, the single white blossom appears to have four petals, but these are really leaflike structures (bracts) surrounding a cluster of tiny greenish yellow flowers in the center. Each of these tiny flowers may become a fruit. The clusters of red berries mature in late July, brightening the ground layer considerably....

    • Columbine
      (pp. 119-120)

      The tall-stemmed (2 to 3 feet) flowers have five fused tubular nodding bells that are deep red to pinkish white on the outside and yellow within. Long curved spurs point upward, while the yellow male stamens and female pistils extend and point downwards. The leaves are compound, rounded into lobes, and divided into threes. The June-flowering columbines are slender and graceful, in beautiful contrast to the rocky slopes and poor ground they often occupy.

      Some people maintain that the columbine’s uniquely shaped tubelike nectaries resemble a circle of doves gathered in a ring around a dish, hence the common name,...

    • Solomon’s Seal
      (pp. 121-124)

      These species belong to the lily family and have the long, parallel-veined leaf typical of lilies. All their flower parts grow in threes or multiples of three. Hairy and false Solomon’s seal look somewhat alike in overall structure but the bell-like flowers in the hairy Solomon’s seal hang like Christmas tree ornaments, usually singly or in pairs from the axils of the leaves. The false Solomon’s seal’s tiny star-shaped flowers bloom in a large, branched, pyramidal cluster on a stem rising above the leaves. The three-leaved false Solomon’s seal bears little resemblance to the previous two species—it’s much shorter...

    • Canada Mayflower
      (pp. 125-126)

      Canada mayflower grows low to the ground (2 to 6 inches), blooming from early May into June in a cluster of small white flowers on a common stalk. They are usually too small and insignificant to be picked for bouquets even though the blossoms are wonderfully fragrant. Two or three shiny leaves unfurl in early May, each heart-shaped at the base, pointed at the tip, and ruffled in between, with veins all emanating from the base and arching to the tip in typical lily fashion. Sometimes only one long-stemmed leaf will appear, and no flower. The flowering stem often zigzags...

    • Goldthread
      (pp. 127-128)

      The delicate flowers that appear in May, grow singly on long stems with five to seven, white petallike sepals arranged in a star. Fifteen to twenty-five white stamens with gold anthers, and numerous pistils and filamentlike petals (that are really nectaries) give the center of the flower a furry appearance. Emerging from the base of the plant, the upright lustrous leaves rise on 3- to 6-inch-long stems, each evergreen leaf divided into three fan-shaped, scalloped leaflets. The leaves look a bit like those of the barren strawberry. If you are in doubt about its identification, carefully expose the slender, brilliant...

    • Orchids
      (pp. 129-132)

      No other plant family combines such remarkable fragrances, tropical colors, and unique configurations as orchids, and many of the common names reflect their exotic status: dragon’s-mouth, ram’s-head lady slipper, calypso, and rattlesnake-plantain. Orchids arrange their flower parts in threes (three sepals, three petals), but the outstanding feature of all orchid flowers is the one petal that has been modified into a “lip.” This lip may look like a fringed tongue (rose pogonia) or like a tiny moccasin for elves (pink lady’s slipper). But most importantly it serves the function of a “landing pad,” luring insects to perform the vital function...

  9. Early Summer Wildflowers
    • Orange Hawkweed
      (pp. 134-135)

      As a member of the composite, or daisy, family, each orange hawkweed flower is really a bouquet of flowers, composed of a yellow disk flower in the center and many orange to red ray flowers radiating out from the disk. The leaves rise in a distinctively hairy rosette at the base of the plant, and the leafless stem is hairy as well. The black hairs led gardeners in the 1500s to name it “Grim the Collier” because it looked as if coal dust had been shaken onto the plant. Orange hawkweed itself is not a native North Woods species, but...

    • Common Milkweed
      (pp. 136-138)

      Tall plants (3 to 5 feet), with opposite, oval, large (up to 9 inches long and 4 inches wide) leaves, milkweed produces spherical clusters of ½-inch-diameter pink to purple flowers that often droop with the weight of the blossoms. An easy aid in identification is the milky and very sticky sap that oozes from the stem and leaves when they are broken. The seed pod is long, pointed, and warty, and holds thousands of silky white hairs, with a single seed attached to one end, that sail effortlessly in any breeze. Many species of milkweed live in the North Woods,...

    • Wintergreen
      (pp. 139-140)

      Wintergreen has a low to the ground (2 to 6 inches), creeping woody stem bearing three green and glossy oval leaves that exude the wintergreen fragrance when crushed. In July, waxy, bell-like white flowers with five teeth hang hidden beneath the leaves. The leaves are evergreen, and appear light green when young, but turn dark green and leathery as they grow older. The round, red five-celled fruits ripen in the fall and remain attached to the plant all winter. Their taste is the distinctive delightful wintergreen flavor.

      Wintergreen vegetatively reproduces by an underground stem that sends up shoots. The evergreen...

    • Sarsaparilla
      (pp. 141-143)

      A single, tall (1 to 2 feet) leafstalk bears a single compound leaf, which branches off into three large leaflets, each with three to five leaves. The branching pattern is akin to bracken fern and provides a key clue in identifying sarsaparilla. The very small whitegreen flowers usually bloom in three round clusters in late June, rising inconspicuously on a single short leafless stalk that is well hidden under the large leaflets. Purple-black berries form in late July in similar round clusters beneath the large leaves. The leaves turn bronze in the fall.

      Wild sarsaparilla grows commonly throughout open moist...

    • Black-eyed Susan
      (pp. 144-145)

      Tall (1 to 3 feet) with rough, hairy stems and leaves, the familiar blossoms have eight to twenty yellow to orange “petals” (ray flowers) surrounding a rounded purple-brown “eye” (disk flowers). The center eye is rarely black, so the common name ought to be browneyed Susan. The rays curl backward over time, forming a cone, hence the other common name, coneflower.

      The black-eyed Susan has sterile rays. The “eye” holds hundreds of tiny flowers packed together to create a “disk,” each little tube-shaped floret having male and female parts. Usually the disk opens in stages: the center has unopened disk...

    • Indian Pipe
      (pp. 146-147)

      The white, waxy-looking 3- to 8-inch stem, scalelike leaves, and nodding flower of Indian pipe are just about unmistakable. With no greenery whatsoever, it looks more like a fungus than a woodland flower. Ghost plant is another common name, derived from the translucent white color of its stem and flower. In late summer the nodding pipe rises upwards, and the plant turns black and begins to decompose (when picked, it also quickly blackens), showing the origin of yet another common name, corpse plant. The fruit forms into a capsule that splits down the sides, releasing fine brown seeds.

      Indian pipe...

    • Pipsissewa
      (pp. 148-150)

      Pipsissewa is most easily identified by when and where it blooms—mid-July in dry pine forests. In the deep woods very few flowers just begin to blossom so late in summer. To be sure of your identification, look for the flowers, colored a soft cream with a pink center ring, nodding toward the earth from a long, slender, reddish brown stalk. Five petals with violet anthers encircle a large green ovary and broad style that is sticky on its end. In its center, the flower is waxy and dainty, with a gentle scent. The waxy evergreen leaves with sharp sawtooth...

    • Twinflower
      (pp. 151-152)

      Twinflower is a rather inconspicuous low-trailing plant with a pair (“twin sisters”) of nodding, pink, funnel-shaped flowers that give off a wonderful fragrance. An evergreen, twinflower has nearly round, opposite leaves with sparse teeth and short petioles (stalks). The stem usually creeps along the shady northern forest floor.

      The species name,borealis,describes the twinflower’s range: northern boreal forests (rarely south of the tension zone). The flowers appear in late June, often forming carpets of delicate hanging bells in a surprising variety of habitats from dry woods to bog edges.

      The genus nameLinnaearefers to Carl Linnaeus, who was...

  10. Late Summer Wildflowers
    • Goldenrod
      (pp. 154-155)

      Most everyone recognizes goldenrods, but exact species identification is difficult, with dozens of species found in the North Woods. The radiant yellow of the tiny ray flowers is concentrated in showy clusters atop slender stems 1 to 6 feet tall. Leaves are most often long, narrow, and toothed, but variations among species make generalizations unreliable.

      While many of our roadside flowers are foreign imports, goldenrod is a native. Goldenrods spread through underground rhizomes, which send up new shoots every year. Colonies of clonal goldenrod can become very dense and large—some are estimated to be one hundred years old. In...

    • Large-leaf Aster
      (pp. 156-157)

      The North Woods contain dozens of aster species, varying greatly in color, size, and habitat. But the most common aster in relatively open woods or shady dry areas is the large-leaf aster, which often forms dense colonies that exclude virtually every other type of plant. The rough leaves are quite large (4 to 8 inches wide), rounded, heart-shaped with a notch in the base, and long stemmed. Often sparse, the flowers appear very late in the summer.

      All asters belong to the composite, or daisy, family, and exhibit the characteristic cluster of yellow disk flowers in the ccenter and a...

    • Joe-pye Weed
      (pp. 158-160)

      This very tall (up to 10 feet, but usually 3 to 5 feet), late-summer flower, most commonly grows leaves in a whorl of three to six. The leaves are saw-toothed and large, up to 12 inches long. The delicately fuzzy, trumpet-shaped flowers form a dome-shaped mass, and exhibit pink-purple colors (some refer to them as wine-stained) that are attractive to humans and insects alike. The purple stalk remains through the winter, but the small dry fruits and tiny parachuted seeds disperse in the autumn winds. The crushed leaves have sweet vanilla odor.

      Look for the magenta flowers in August along...

    • Fireweed
      (pp. 161-162)

      The slender spikes of vivid pink to magenta flowers have four rounded petals with four darker, slender sepals underneath which support the petals. The reddish stems are 3 to 6 feet tall with alternate, toothless, narrow, pointed leaves. Below the open flowers, the long beanlike seedpods form in the late summer. New flower buds continue to form above the blooming flowers and droop down as they await their turn to open. So on the fireweed several stages of flower and fruit development can be seen at any one moment.

      You may have noticed light silky seeds being carried on the...

  11. Bog Plants
    • Sphagnum Moss
      (pp. 164-168)

      Mosses, by definition, are any small green plant having leafy stems but no flower, and growing so close together as to form velvety cushions. Mosses lack a vascular system (the rigid stem for carrying water and minerals up from the roots), and so they always grow close to the ground. A slender bristlelike stalk, or seta, bears a spore case at its end, the result of a rather complicated sexual reproduction process. Moist habitats are a general requirement for mosses; look for them on rotting logs, on the forest floor, and around wet areas. However, some species even colonize sand...

    • Labrador Tea
      (pp. 169-170)

      This evergreen shrub grows from 1 to 3 feet tall, with an upright umbrellalike terminal cluster of white flowers. Each blossom blooms in late May or early June. To prevent water and mineral loss, the untoothed leaves are thick, succulent, and rolled inward. Woolly hair covers the underside of the leaf, rusty brown in color if it’s an older leaf, white if it’s young. Dense hair insulates the twigs as well, and the crushed leaves release a pleasant fragrance that is an identifying trait.

      Labrador tea prefers the drier edges of bogs or the high side of hummocks within the...

    • Cottongrass
      (pp. 171-172)

      Cottongrass looks just like its name indicates it should—the flower resembles a tuft of cotton at the tip of a grasslike long stem, often 3 feet or taller. Depending on the species (there are six species in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota), the flowers may grow in a dense cluster or clump resembling a pincushion, or they may grow as scattered solitary individuals. During June in some bogs like the Powell Marsh in northern Wisconsin, cottongrass is so thick that the bog appears to be covered with snow—a snow that waves in the wind!

      Cottongrass belongs to the sedge...

    • Bog Laurel
      (pp. 173-174)

      A low evergreen shrub, bog laurel, also called pale laurel, has long, narrow, untoothed leaves that are rolled inward, apparently for water and mineral conservation. The opposite leaves, white underneath, provide the key identifying factor. The leaves are somewhat similar to those of bog rosemary, but it has alternate leaves. Here’s my simple mnemonic: Laurel and Hardy had opposite personalities, and this hardy laurel has opposite leaves.

      The exquisite five-lobed pink to rose flowers rise above the leaves on thin stems that usually hang down. Flowering in late May to early June, the saucer-shaped blossoms look like small smiling faces....

    • Bog Rosemary
      (pp. 175-176)

      Bog rosemary is another low, evergreen bog shrub with long, narrow, alternate leaves that are inrolled to conserve water and/or minerals. The underside of the leaf has tiny bluish white hairs, and in May and June small white to pink, urn-shaped flowers grow at the branch tips in a small cluster. Red-brown seed capsules form in the fall and split, releasing the tiny airborne seeds. Bog rosemary requires two years to grow from bud to flower to seed to new plant.

      Bog rosemary spreads vegetatively throughout the bog by horizontal creeping rootstocks. The leaves have little wildlife or domestic animal...

    • Leatherleaf
      (pp. 177-178)

      A tall (1 to 4 feet), evergreen shrub, leatherleaf often dominates in a bog. The untoothed, alternate thick leaves are leathery, hence the name, and are often covered with rusty scales. But the distinctive identifying trait is how the leaves clearly decrease in size near the tip of the plant. Leatherleaf s white late-April to early-May flowers hang bell-like in a row from one side of the upper branches; they are similar in shape to the more often noticed flowers of blueberries.

      Leatherleaf grows in dense thickets on top of the bog’s sphagnum moss ground layer, spreading by root suckers....

    • Sundew
      (pp. 179-180)

      A tiny resident of bogs and cedar swamps, sundew produces leaf stems that grow in a circular rosette a little smaller than a half dollar. Each leaf blade expands at its tip into an oval “sun” that is covered with thick hairs. The hairs project like the rays of the sun, each with a glistening drop of sticky fluid at its end, like dew. The minute flowers bloom white or pink in July, forming all on one side of a long (4 to 9 inches) slender stalk.

      The carnivorous sundew attracts diminutive insects like mosquitoes with its attractive rosy coloration,...

    • Small Cranberry
      (pp. 181-182)

      Cranberry is a small, slender, creeping shrub with slender, woody stems. It is hard to spot unless you on your knees in the bog. The alternate, simple, smooth-edged leaves are tiny, less than ⅜ inch long, are white underneath. The leaf edges roll in, the tips are pointed, and the entire plant is hairless. Cranberry blooms pink or rose in small clusters on slender stems, usually in June. The petals of the flowers peel back and the stamens extend outward. The berries, which ripen in August and September, are red and often speckled, and twice the length of the leaves—...

    • Pitcher Plant
      (pp. 183-184)

      The pitcher plant is a unique and unmistakable species, possessing a series of large pitcher-shaped or trumpet-shaped, inflated leaves pointing upward from the ground. These leaves are purple or green-veined and mottled red; some suggest they imitate flesh to attract insects. The tall maroon flowers, rising about 2 feet on a single stem, appear in June and July. The blossoms nod upside down like umbrellas. Pitcher plants are the official flower of Newfoundland.

      Pitcher plants are one of the four carnivorous plants of the North Woods. While certainly not numerous or common, they are highly visible to people willing to...

    • Bladderworts
      (pp. 185-186)

      These aquatic plants, with long, fine stems (up to 3 feet) and threadlike leaves, grow on muddy shorelines or float under the water surface and are seldom seen except when flowering. The lipped, usually yellow blossoms (some species are purple-flowered) rise above the water surface in July on a naked stem and look a bit like small snapdragons. Attached to the filamentous stems below the water are tiny bladders only millimeters in size and best seen using a hand lens or microscope, which often contain microscopic insects trapped within.

      Bladderworts may be found suspended, or sometimes anchored, in the open-water...

  12. Wetland/Open Water Plants
    • Water Lilies
      (pp. 188-189)

      Yellow pond lily has yellow flattened globelike flowers with six sepals that curve inward to form a cup. The petals are less than ½ inch across and are rather inconspicuous inside the globe of sepals. White water lily has many large white petals, with a center full of long yellow stamens. Two species of white water lily may be found, one which is wonderfully fragrant (odorata), the other without fragrance (tuberosa).

      Both lilies float on the surface of quiet, shallow water. And both have similar, very large (9 to 12 inches), oval, shiny green leaves that are deeply notched at...

    • Common Cattail
      (pp. 190-191)

      Cattail leaves reach 6 feet or higher, and are long and narrow, much like green-veined ribbons. The flower stalk may extend higher yet, to 8 feet, and ends in two flowering spikes. The upper spike is the male flower head, composed of the stamens. These shed their pollen onto the lower female flower structure, which looks like a brown corndog. The tubular stem is filled with large air cells.

      The narrow-leaved cattail has a space between the male and female flower heads; the common cattail has no space. A hybrid can be distinguished only by an magnified examination of the...

    • Purple Loosestrife
      (pp. 192-193)

      Purple loosestrife’s 2- to 5-foot-high, tapering spikes of magenta flowers often dominate wet meadows and marshes. The flowers have six petals, unlike fireweed, a plant it is sometimes confused with, which has four petals. The downy, stemless leaves grow opposite in pairs or threes.

      Purple loosestrife blooms in midsummer and may completely dominate some wetlands such as over 1,000 acres of a wildlife refuge in New York state. The imported purple loosestrife threatens native vegetation because it aggressively crowds out cattails, sedges, and other native wetland plants. Without these native plants for food, nesting, and shelter, wildlife populations struggle to...

    • Pickerelweed
      (pp. 194-195)

      The tall blue-purple flowers rise on a 1-to 4-foot spike above large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves with rounded lobes at the base.Cordata,the Latin species name, means heart. The leaves may grow so thick along a stream edge or shallow slough that they form an impenetrable barrier for canoeists and anglers. The blossom fades after just a day and then develops into a single seed. Some people find the fragrance unpleasant. Flowering in July, pickerelweed is often found alongside the more fragile white flowers of arrowhead, painting a shoreline in rich colors.

      Pickerelweed rapidly colonizes sloughs by sending underground rhizomes...

    • Blue Flag Iris
      (pp. 196-197)

      Blue flag’s long leaves (up to 3 feet) are like pointed swords. Each leaf has parallel veins, but is slightly curved and shorter than the flower stem. The showy violet-blue flowers spread out nearly flat, the longer sepals appearing like extended wings, with a greenish yellow blotch at the base and beautiful white veining throughout. A thick fleshy horizontal rhizome extends underground, distributing blue flag in clonal patches, though for some reason it seldom develops into large colonies in its favored habitats— sedge meadows, marshes, and stream banks.

      Irismeans “rainbow” in Greek, indicating the variety of colors represented in...

    • Horsetails
      (pp. 198-200)

      Horsetails are grouped with the “fern allies,” those plants that are similar reproductively and structurally to ferns, but that have needlelike or scalelike leaves. (True ferns have large, flat fronds with branching veins.) The hollow, fluted, jointed stems offer the easiest identifying trait; you can pull the stems of many species apart and put them back together at the joints. The stems are bamboolike, and the joints are ringed by a collar of black-and-white tiny, toothlike leaves. Some species, like common horsetail(Equisetum arvense),have long, needlelike branches whorled around the base of the joints, while other species, like scouring...

    • Arrowhead
      (pp. 201-202)

      Arrowhead has, unsurprisingly, arrowhead-shaped leaves with two long, pointed lobes. The flowers appear in July in delicate whorls of three with three green sepals, three snowy white petals, and a golden center on a 1-to 3-foot tall, naked succulent stem. Long, narrow leaves like grass blades ripple underwater, their slim width an adaptation for withstanding the power of underwater currents.

      Arrowhead belongs to a group of marsh plants called emergents, meaning they are rooted in shallow water bottoms, but grow well above the surface of the water. All emergent plants send out clonal rhizomes under the water bottom to form...

    • Wild Calla
      (pp. 203-204)

      Wild calla grows low to the ground, with smooth, long-stemmed, parallel-veined leaves. The unique brilliant white “petal” (really a spathe) acts as a silky hood for the real flower, a golden club of clustered tiny blossoms. The glossy heart-shaped leaves arise from long creeping stems, which can float and which help calla to form large clonal colonies.

      Wild calla blooms during June in bogs and shallow water margins. Wild calla resembles the cultivated calla lily, but they’re not in the same genus.

      The fruit forms a clustered head of brilliant red berries. Native Americans used the tuber for food and...

  13. Other Plants
    • Clubmosses
      (pp. 206-208)

      Fern allies include clubmosses, horsetails, spikemosses, quillworts, and whiskbroom ferns. Fern allies are a group of fern relatives that have the same structural characteristics as ferns—a vascular system for support and “plumbing,” and an alternating-generation life history that progresses from spores to a sexually reproducing form and back again. The difference between ferns and their allies is that ferns have large flat fronds with branching veins, while the allies have needlelike or scalelike leaves with just one unbranched vein. They don’t look a bit like ferns or much like each other. Clubmosses look a bit like mosses but are...

    • Lichens
      (pp. 209-212)

      Lichens, plants without distinct stems, leaves, or roots, most commonly colonize rock surfaces, tree branches and bark, and forest soils. They can, however, be found virtually anywhere in the world and on nearly any surface.

      Botanists remain unsure how to classify the lichens because they are a union of a fungus and an alga in one plant. The nature of the union is also unclear. The alga and fungus may act cooperatively for one another’s mutual benefit, the alga performing the food making through photosynthesis, the fungus holding onto needed water and offering protection from injury. Or the fungus may...

    • Ferns
      (pp. 213-216)

      Ferns and fern allies (like clubmosses and horsetails) make up one of the four groups of plants into which botanists have divided the plant world. And though the least populous of the plant groups, comprising just 2 percent of the world’s total plant population (twelve thousand species of ferns and one thousand species of fern allies), ferns helped pioneer the lifeless earth some 400 million years ago. In the process ferns locked up solar energy in the form of coal.

      There’s a lot more to ferns than feathery fronds, though the word “fern” does come from the old Anglo-Saxonfearn,...

    • Bracken Fern
      (pp. 217-218)

      While the bracken fern looks like it has three large feathery leaves, a single grooved 2-to 3-foot stem produces a single broadly triangular, coarse leaf that is divided into three nearly equal leaflets at the same point on the stem. The leaflets divide into many slightly hairy subleaflets that are narrow and have blunt tips.

      In August, fruit dots containing spores, which appear in a line near the edge of the leaflets, mature. Reproduction by spores, however, is rare compared to the vegetative success attained through the rootstalks.

      Bracken fern is very common in open woodlands, along roadsides, and in...

  14. Glossary/Sources