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Illinois Wild Flowers | by John Voss, Virginia S. Eifert



John Voss died in his native city of Peoria at the age of 53, Leaving these photographs of native wild flowers of Illinois as a legacy to the lovers of the out-of-doors throughout the state. He was a thoroughly trained plant ecologist and he carried his scientific knowledge into the woodland- and prairies where the wild flowers grew. By his skill as a photographer he brought back from the foresl and the fields the beauties of nature. His collection of floral portraits was incomplete when illness and death came to close his activities.

TitleIllinois Wild Flowers
AuthorJohn Voss, Virginia S. Eifert
PublisherIllinois State Museum
Year1960
Copyright1951, Illinois State Museum
AmazonFieldbook of Illinois Wild Flowers
Illinois Wild Flowers.

State Of Illinois, William G. Stratton, Governor., Department Of Registration And Education Vera M. Blnks, Director., Illinois State Museum Thorne Deuel, Museum Director.

Popular Science Series, Volume III

Illinois Wild Flowers 2John Voss, Ph.D.

John Voss, Ph.D.

1895 - 1948

-Introduction
ILLINOIS WILD FLOWERS is a representative, though not complete, collection of photographs of our native wild flowers, most of which were made by Doctor John Voss. They are arranged according to season...
-Skunk Cabbage
Crisp and colorful and ornamental, the skunk cabbage pushes through the spring mud of the swamp and blossoms in the. weak sunlight of March. There is wry beauty in this flower and its leaves; it is no...
-Snow Trillium (Early Wake Robin)
It is the first day of spring and it feels like it. Although in March the Illinois landscape in general still has the grey look of winter, the silver maples are in bloom, bees have found them, willows...
-Spring Sedge
As efficiently and as completely as any blossom of the springtime, the inconspicuous flowers of spring sedge open in the sunshine of early April. The sedge is not often noticed; frequently it is passe...
-Fragrant Sumac
In braided, catkin-like heads, the buds of fragrant sumac stand stiffly erect on the dark brown twigs all winter Long. Then when March comes to the sand hills and to the sandy roadsides and woods wher...
-Dutchman's Breeches (Boys And Girls. Snowboys)
It may have all started with that first bloodroot flower on a day when the March sun turned seventy and the wind was southerly. It may have started with snow trilliums on a limestone hill that hadn't ...
-Squirrel Corn
The rich black earth of the old woods slope goes up and up to heights of limestone. The earth is full of limestone chips, with here and there a fragment of an Indian arrowhead where a Hopewellian hunt...
-Bluets. Star-Violet
On the dry uplands, on those rolling, gravelly hills where poverty grass denotes a kindred poverty of the soil, the rare little bluets blossom in April. Although other bluets (Houstonia coerulea) some...
-Carolina Whitlow Grass
More dramatic, perhaps, than the greatest sunflower or the most elegant rose, are these three little plants of whitlow grass. The photograph was staged deliberately to bring out that quality of miniat...
-Bloodroot
In the hill woods above the river the oaks and hickories look down on the new life which has burst over night from the leaf-strewn floor of the forest. Sanguinaria canadensis L. Early spri...
-Spring Beauty
Spring beauties are among those abundant spring blossoms which carpel the woods in April. That mass of white lowers is mainly spring beauties with a mixture of trout lilies, toothwort, and anemones a ...
-White Trout Lily (Adder's Tongue. Dog-Tooth Violet)
Long before anything is in bloom in the Illinois oak woods, the close mats of moss and bare ground and leaf-strewn woods floor contain small red spears thrusting into the sunlight. There are hundreds ...
-Yellow Adder's Tongue (Fawn Lily)
In Illinois oak woods, the white trout lilies bloom early in spring; they are part of the accepted picture of springtime in this part of the middle west. The woods would be strangely lacking in a spec...
-Pussy Toes
Pussy toes is a plant of poor soil, often acid, sterile soil where little else will grow. Here on the slopes and covering the cold clay, are the silvery-grey and dark green rosettes of leaves which re...
-Common Dandelion
They may be totally unwelcome in lawn or in garden, but on a mild March morning when the sunny south bank is starred with bright yellow dandelions, they are as pleasant a sight as any harbinger of spr...
-Marsh-Marigold (American Cowslip)
That night the swampy woods were loud with the throaty piping of the spring peepers and the. calling of the woodcocks. Everywhere - by dozens, by hundreds, the tiny brown frogs hidden in the shallows ...
-Harbinger-Of-Spring (Pepper And Salt)
Above the cliffs of Starved Rock, high above the Illinois River and the extinct villages of the Kaskaskia in the lowlands, the woods remain much as they have been for many thousands of years. Now it i...
-False Rue-Anemone
The wooded hillside in April is a flower garden. Its loose rich soil is composed of decayed leaf mold made up of generations of dead leaves and sticks; of disintegrated rocks and sand, of water and ch...
-Wood Anemone (Wind Flower)
Small, intimate, and perfect it stands a1 the foot of an old tree, a wood anemone in a sandy forest of northern Illinois. Here is the compact, exquisite charm of a small spring Sower, efficient in the...
-Greater Bellwort (Wood Merrybells)
Uvularia, the old botanists called it, because, said they, searching for something with which to compare the plant, The flowers hang, like the uvula or palate. This seems to be a very prosaic reason...
-Rue-Anemone (Wind Flower)
On the north slopes of clay hills where the shooting star opens its rocket-like blossoms and brittle ferns uncurl, and the ruby-crowned kinglets sing their minute songs among the shadbush flowers, the...
-Hepatica (Liverleaf)
It is a day in March, sunny, bright, but still cool and frosty-feeling on the north slope of a damp, wooded hillside. Now, suddenly, the hepaticas are in bloom. All winter there were the purple-red he...
-Carolina Anemone
Marking the eastern-flung boundaries of old post-glacial flood plains and lakes in middle Illinois are Long low ranges of sand hills and wind-chiseled Loess bluffs which, through the passage of many c...
-Swamp Buttercup
The buttercups are a contradictory tribe. They may be brilliant gold with a sheen like gold leaf, or they may be dull and greenish and small, and quite unbeautiful in the springtime of the year. Two o...
-Tansy Mustard
No matter how different their Leaves may be, the lowers of the Mustard family, Cruci-ferae, show their resemblance to each other in the cross-shaped blossoms and bitter, watery juice. It is the shape ...
-Toothwort (Crinkleroot. Pepper Root)
The oak woods above the river are full of song. There may be only a few titmice, two cardinals, a Carolina wren, a chickadee, and four amorous cowbirds, but so early in the season they are a spring sy...
-Shepherd's Purse
In the dooryards of Athens, in the villages of France, in the fields along the Rhine, in the meadows of England, in the cabbage fields of Holland, the shepherd's purse for centuries has come up each y...
-Shadbush (Service Berry. Juneberry)
Now the fleeting touch of spring sets bouquets of blossoms all across the countryside - now bloom the flowering trees which are part of the prairie springtime. It is they which carry bloom aloft, lift...
-Common Pawpaw (Custard-Apple)
In April, when spring is everywhere, the pawpaws blossom and are suddenly important in a woods where as ye1 the Leaves have not appeared on anything but the shadbushes and buckeyes. The ground is carp...
-Wild Red Plum (Wild Goose Plum)
Sweet on the air of an April evening is the. fragrance of wild plum trees in bloom. The scent carries everywhere through the woods and along the roadsides, wafts in great bursts of spring perfume, rem...
-Redbud (Judas Tree)
With the delirious scent of wild plum blossoms everywhere along the country roads and along the edges of woods, there comes the blurring of purple-rose color of the redbud trees. Now the small pea-sha...
-Prickly Ash (Toothache Tree)
It is early spring in the rocky woods, and, there on the hill-slope above the creek, the thorny thickets of prickly ash trees are all in bloom. It is an insignificant but eloquent burst of bloom, the ...
-Wild Chervil
Where the Lowland woods is bisected by the galloping creek, the floor of the woods beneath the elms and Kentucky coffee trees is pale blue with Virginia bluebells all in bloom. There is the white frot...
-Missouri Gooseberry
It is late March. The little stream through the woods is running freely again and the woods-earth is dark and porous after the departure of the snows. The fox sparrows utter throaty flute-notes and ri...
-Wild Black Currant
In the rich, alluvial black soil of lowland woods, the wild black currant in April hangs out its chains of bright yellow bells with their pleasant fragrance of cloves. It is one of those special sight...
-Goldenseal (Orange Root. Yellow Puccoon)
Long ago in the days of the French explorers, LaSalle built a fort above the Illinois River near the Peoria Indian village, and named it Fort Creve Coeur because of the heartbreak he found there. And ...
-White Baneberry (Dolls Eyes)
In a creamy plume of Bowers composed entirely of a whorl of white stamens around a pistil disk, the white baneberry in April blooms in the deep hilly woods of Illinois. Actaea alba (L.) Mill....
-Wild Ginger
A brown thrasher sings, the air is like wine, the wild crab apples are blossoming-, and the wild ginger flowers have opened secretly and with no ado beneath the heart-shaped leaves. All that is visibl...
-Comandra (Bastard Toadflax)
A small, low plant, the comandra blossoms now in April on the dry soil of a hogback ridge. It is an inconspicuous plant, not especially beautiful with its greenish-white flowers, but neat and well arr...
-Wild Blue Phlox (Sweet William)
Wild blue phlox is in bloom and it is April again. That is the remarkable thing about springtime, that jig-saw puzzle intricately put together from all the widely scattered pieces of itself. Take the ...
-Sand Phlox (Cleft Phlox)
Like crisp embroidery or delicate lace, the flowers of sand phlox are draped over sandy slopes, in sandy woods, along roads, on sandstone cliffs. The slender root sturdily parts a rock to enter and gr...
-Twinleaf
Thomas Jefferson was a man who was deeply interested in new ideas, new lands, new plants. In his estate at Monticello he planted flowers and trees from far places and sent for specimens from the hinte...
-Wild Larkspur
Ornamental as a garden flower, bright as the brightest purple or delicately lavender or chastely white, the wild larkspur grows in the blue-grass woods, in the hilly Limestone woods, or along roads wh...
-Prairie Wake Robin (Erect Red Trillium. Bloody Noses)
To many a child in the Illinois country, the prairie wake robin means spring. To many a person, this is the only wild trillium that is known, for the white trilliums of several species are not commonl...
-Great White Trillium (Large-Flowered Wake Robin)
The April sun which moves in shafts of misty light early in the cool bright morning shines upon the faces of great white trilliums blossoming in the woods. They are there by dozens, singly, in colonie...
-Nodding Trillium
The leaves are large and broad, bright green and veiny. Trillium gleasoni Fern. April - May Hilly woods. Three of them extend at angles from the top of the tall smooth stem, and from th...
-Showy Orchis
The brittle ferns are there, and the Christmas ferns. There is a clump or two of ebony spleenwort on the slope above the foxes' path, and a woodland full of newly leafing oaks and hickories and black ...
-Bishop's-Cap
Diphylla, two leaved - that is the bishop's-cap, a simple spring plant whose thin stem bears two leaves which almost clasp about half way up the stalk. It is a stalk set with snowflakes. No other fl...
-American Bladder Nut
On the steep, rocky hillside above the river, there where the spice bush is in bloom in a sparkle of gold and the rose-breasted gros-beak sings over and over again in in the paw paw tree, there are lo...
-Spring Cress (Bitter Cress)
Where the springs run out of the sandy hillside - where the watercress beds are green and lush in the clear, cold spring water, and the wild iris grows where the stream widens! into a marsh - there ar...
-Small-Flowered Buttercup
In its members, the crowfoot family is many and varied. They range from the little green mouse-tail to the anemones, meadow rues, hepaticas, marsh marigolds, columbines, delphiniums, and buttercups, a...
-Narrow-Leaved Puccoon
They put a bright spot of color in the woods in spring - bright orange on the clay slope, red-gold among the limestone pebbles, orange-yellow on the cliff; the puccoon is in bloom. Now in May when in ...
-Yellow Star Grass
There is a charm in little things which is all out of proportion to their size and importance in the world. In contrast to the lush weediness of the horseweed which, grows fourteen feet tall in a good...
-Ground-Ivy (Gill-Over-The-Ground)
A creeping catnip - this is ground-ivy or gill-over-the-ground, a common ground cover which, in this capacity, may be very useful or may be reviled as a destroyer of grass. However, ground-ivy almost ...
-Flowering Dogwood
When the shadbush and redbud flowers are all but past, and the fragile petals of the wild plums have been scattered to the winds, the dogwood flowers spread whitely beneath the sun. since spring first...
-Virginia Bluebells (Cowslips)
It is May, next door to summer, and sometimes summer itself makes its appearance in Illinois before May is half done. Hot weather hurries the migrating birds into the north, speeds leaf-growth on the ...
-Mayapple (Mandrake)
When the conical white shoot starts forth from the long root of the mayapple and in April emerges with thin white skin, the mayapple is on its way through the first of a number of changes in appearanc...
-Wild Crabapple
April rain drips from the purple-black twigs of the wild crab apple trees, pearls the pink buds and the crisp, spicy flowers, mats the petals, studs the new grey-green leaves. The fragrance of the wil...
-Greek Valerian (Bluebells. Jacob's Ladder)
Bluebells, the children called them, and gathered handsful of the thin green stems with their racemes of pale blue bellflowers. Where the Virginia bluebell did not grow, the cabin children of Illinois...
-Calamus (Sweet Flag)
Fragrant along the pond's edge and in the pasture rivulet grow the beds of calamus, the sweet flag. Shining and dark bright green, the ridged, sword-like leaves quiver in the wind and rain, bend flat ...
-Green Violet
They call it a violet, but at least the botanists put the green violet in a separate genus, Hybanthus, under the family of Violaceae, the violets. Else it would seem more out of place in such elegant ...
-Bird-Foot Violet (Crowfoot Violet)
Where the prairie hills lie like supine animals upon whose long forms the ruddy prairie grass blows like fur, the bird-foot violets bloom in spring. They are creatures of spring winds and the dry loes...
-Prairie Violet
In the Violet tribe there are two types of growth-There are stemless violets and violets with true stems: it'- as simple as that, their division. The so-called stemless violets are like the common blu...
-Hairy Blue Violet
There is little difference between the hairy blue violet and the common blue; sometimes they are almost indistinguishable. Their main difference is this: the common blue violet is smooth; the hairy bl...
-Ovate-Leaved Violet
When late April brings new leaves like cut-out pink and white velvet on the oak trees, and when on the dry clay hills of the oak woods the trout lilies are out of bloom, there may come the neat plants...
-Lance-Leaved Violet
These little white violets are often not more than three inches high, the flowers are small. delicate with dark red lines leading to the center and they are fragrant with a strong, pervasive scent. Th...
-Smooth Yellow Violet
Certain flowers are found together. Almost invariably if one finds a particular species in a particular place, he finds others which belong in that same association of plants. Thus, when it happens th...
-Blue Cohosh (Papoose Root. Squawroot)
It is a strange, aloof plant, the blue cohosh, as it stands in the damp April woods. There is nothing else quite like it, this member of the Barberry family, for although it is related to mayapples, b...
-Upright Yellow Wood-Sorrel
Sour-grass, the children call the leaves of yellow oxalis, or call the seeds pickles and gather them for doll feasts or for brief refreshment during play. For the yellow wood-sorrel is not truly a...
-Violet Wood-Sorrel
It was early May in the Kickapoo Valley when the photographer came upon violet wood-sorrel in bloom in the oak woods. He found it in the sort of place in which it usually grows - the acid soil where b...
-Jack-In-The-Pulpit (Indian Turnip)
Gleaming like a creation in pale green wax, the Jack-in-the-purpit stands ereet and perfect in the springtime sunlight. Here is a plant whose economy of design is complete as it stands: this is it. Th...
-Dragon Arum (Green Dragon)
There is nothing at all like the green dragon in the Illinois woods. The name dracontium and the appearance, which is indeed somewhat dragon-like, produce a slightly sinister aspect in a common spring...
-Wild Geranium (Cranesbill)
Kin to that wild red geranium of the African veld, sent to Holland to become the ancestor of all cultivated geraniums, the pale pink wild geranium of the Illinois woods comes into bloom when April is ...
-False Spikenard (Solomon's Plume)
Like a creamy white plume, the flowers of the false spikenard emit a delicate scent in the spring woods. The. tall spike bends in an arc beneath the oaks. False spikenard is one of the mid-spring flow...
-False Solomon's Seal
Among the lilies, which it outwardly resembles very little, is the false Solomon's seal. In this plant the flowers are built according to the prescribed lily plan of six three sepals and three petals,...
-Solomon's Seal
Bending in splendid architecture, the stem of Solomon's seal curves in a Romanesque arch and, in elegant order, bears leaves above and flowers below. Polygonatum biflorum (Walt.) Ell. May ...
-Shooting-Star
Dodecatheon. Flower of the Twelve Gods, said Pliny when he told of the primrose, which was believed to be under the care of the twelve superior gods of Olympus. A member of the Primrose family, the ...
-Prairie Phlox
Orange puccoon is in bloom and the magenta-pink flowers of prairie phlox blossom brightly along the railroad right-of-way. If the two casually grow close to each other, the clashing of bright pigments...
-Wood Betony (Common Louscwort)
The wood betony is a decidedly curly plant - the flowers are curled and so are the flower heads and bracts, and so, emphatically, are the leaves. In a curly tuft the betony springs up in the hilly woo...
-Golden Ragwort
Few Composites blossom early in the season. Most of them seem to require a good deal of time to develop proper plants and flower heads, but in May the golden ragwort suddenly blooms. It and the dandel...
-Indian Paintbrush (Painted Cup)
The Indian paintbrush or painted cup seems more like a western flower than one of the central or eastern plants, and it is true that it very likely migrated into Illinois with the coming of other plan...
-One-Flowered Cancer-Root
The spring hill is alive with growing, singing, blossoming things - with oaks just coming into new leaf, and warblers flitting and singing among them . . . with young squirrels in a hole in a hickory,...
-Broomrape
It is the tremendous function of most plants to manufacture their own food and a1 the same time provide food for all other Living things. Yet there are certain plants which do not make their own food....
-Wild Lupine
Denizen of the sand country, the blue spires of lupine stand erect in the blazing spring sunshine. Lupinus peiennis L. May - June. Sands, dune country. Sand country plants are especiall...
-Blue-Eyed Mary (Baby Blue Eyes)
It is May. The hilly woods are full of drifts of lavender phlox, with the last of the spring beauties and the yellow of bellwort. The oaks are putting out new little velvet leaves which now are pale p...
-Wild Hyacinth (Camas. Quamash)
When the last glacier departed, it left broad blue lakes on what later became the Illinois country. When the lakes grew less and the vegetation pushed in from every side until there was only a pond of...
-Swamp Saxifrage
In the sandstone canyon at Starved Rock there is a boggy spot, there where the drip from the cliffs moves down the slope and stops in that saturated place where the deep mosses grow and the swamp saxi...
-Wild Columbine
Columbine is named for two birds - for Columba, the dove, from a fancied resemblance of the flower to five doves grouped in a circle, and for Aquila, the eagle, from some fancied resemblance of the fl...
-Wild Strawberry
This is June in Illinois: sunshine, clover blossoms, song. It is the time when the new strength which comes to the sunshine begins to bake the soil between rows of growing corn, when soft dust powders...
-Dwarf False Dandelion
Dwarf false dandelion is a neat, smooth, compact little plant with little of the weedy quality which the common dandelion often has, Krigia, in fact, is not in the dandelion family, even though it is ...
-Bur-Reed
In that not-quite-wet and not-quite-dry environment of the swamp and the swampy edges of ponds and streams, the bur-reed grows. Most of the time it is not conspicuous; but twice during the year it mer...
-Glaucous Honeysuckle
Now in the hilly woods, there on the north slope where the banks of moss are bright green and a ledge of sandstone is always moist from a perpetual drip coming out of the hillside, the pale flowers of...
-Ellisia (Wild Tomato. Nyctelea)
It is mid-May when the Ellisia blooms. Mid-May. and the warbler migration is passing its peak. There already are young robins out of the April nests, and orioles are building in the elms. High spring,...
-Purple-Stemmed Angelica
Tall above the swamp stand the purple-mahogany stems of Angelica, a noble plant with an architectural beauty in the tubular stout stems and the broad clasping bases of the leaves and branches. There i...
-Yellow Pimpernel
In May there comes a thin, tenuous, delicate plant. to the dry, wooded hillsides. It is a graceful plant whose long taproot apparently goes endlessly into the gravelly clay soil of the oak lull. Now i...
-Golden-Alexanders (Early Meadow Parsnip)
Once upon a time there was a German botanist who lived along the Rhine. His name was Professor Ziz, and a good while later a certain member of the parsley family, far off in America, was named Zizia i...
-Wild Sarsaparilla
When mid-May is here and the settled feeling of early summer has come to the woods -when the trees all have their Leaves and once again there is unaccustomed deep shade, and the birds which nest here ...
-Bittersweet (Waxwork)
The bittersweet vines have a way of draping themselves all over the trees and bushes of their chosen sandy woods, yet they remain conspicuous during most of the year. The flowers are produced in long ...
-Smooth Sumac
In a family which contains such widely different plants as poison ivy and cashew nuts, one finds; the sumac well established as important small trees in the Illinois woods. Rhus glabra L. ...
-Kitten-Tails
In the botanical zoo there are cattails, pussy toes, mouse-ear, mouse tail, rat-tailed plantain, and this - kitten-tails. And the softness and pliability of the. flowering stalks of Synthyris perhaps ...
-Appendaged Waterleaf
The canyon between the wet sandstone dill's is cool and quiet and damp. The sunlight now, long withheld from the bottom of the canyon because of the steep walls, at last slants down through the oaks o...
-Virginia Waterleaf
Late May and early June in the deep woods is a time of comparatively few flowers. The time of profuse flowering in the shaded places has passed and bloom is at its best in the fields and uplands. Brig...
-Alumroot
Many an alumroot plant has been hopefully transplanted to many a garden, only to leave the gardener disillusioned when May comes around again and the alumroot blooms. For the cluster of basal leaves o...
-Water Cress
The spring runs clear and cold from the sandy hillside and has cut itself a channel between the slopes before it finally flows as a little stream into the swamp beyond. The spring runs clear and fast ...
-Golden Corydalis
In the sand country grows the golden corydalis with its Leaves which remind one of those of dutchman's breeches, and flowers which belong to the corydalis alone. Pure, bright yellow and highly ornamen...
-Seneca Snakeroot
Senega Boot, it was called in the early days of our country, when the pioneers pushing west of the Alleghenies sought plants for home remedies to cure all the ailments besetting mankind. It was believ...
-Greater Twayblade
The wooded ravine between the sandy hills is shady and moist in May. The new leaves on the oaks are dense now and bring shade which for many months has been absent from the woodlands. Ferns uncurl and...
-Loesel's Twayblade
At about the time when greater twayblades bloom, a kindred species, Loesel's tway-blade, also comes into bloom in swamps and damp thickets. The flower, however, is smaller and is yellow-green, and the...
-Long-Bracted Orchid
There are comparatively few orchids in Illinois; it is not the proper habitat for most of them, some of which live only in cool, acid, sphagnum bogs, some in coniferous swamps, or in other intensely a...
-White Lady's Slipper
There was an Indian village in the distance, a rising dune to the east, and beyond lay Lake Michigan. Between the low dune and the village on higher ground lay the broad expanse of wet prairie which o...
-Yellow Lady's Slipper (Whip-Poor-Wills Shoe)
Late May, and bright yellow orchids, the yellow lady's slippers, are in bloom here and there in some of the occasional Illinois woods which still support such opulent flowers. Long ago they were Ear m...
-Showy Lady's Slipper (Queen Orchid)
Showy lady's slipper is the Queen Orchid of America. Here is an orchid blossom as exciting to see as one from the southern jungles. Here is crisp, waxen perfection, a minimum of leaves placed exactly ...
-Wild Iris (Blue Flag)
By late -May when the pond is full of the life and growth and song of almost-summer, the wild irises have come into bloom around the shores. The pond shore is a place of plant zones. The wettest of al...
-Wild Garlic
There is no certain way in which to disguise an onion. Step on it; bruise it; pick it; smell it; eat it - it is all the same: onion. Allium canadense L. May - June Open hills, dry woods al...
-Spiderwort (Spider Lily. Trinity Flower)
In the great estate of Charles 1 in England there was a man named John Tradescant, the elder, who was in charge of all the king's gardens. He knew many flowers, but evidently he never saw a certain de...
-Hop Tree (Wafer Ash)
There it is. a small tree with glossy, pungent leaves shaped much like those of poison ivy, a tree with a disagreeable odor and seeds which at first seem to resemble those of slippery elm. A small, no...
-Sweet Cicely
Earlier in those woods, the spring blossoms were everywhere in a carpel of spring beauties and anemones. Now as the procession of spring moved inexorably onward and April departed and May came on, the...
-White False Indigo
In the days before amino compounds were discovered to produce pure dyes without the aid of plants, the world's supply of blue dyes came from several plants native to Africa and Asia. Indigo became a f...
-Prairie Anemone (Canada Anemone)
In late May when most of the delicate flowers of spring are past their blossoming time and the more robust flowers of summer are growing rapidly in the humid warmth of Illinois, the prairie or Canada ...
-Tall Anemone
This is, perhaps, the stiffest and least beautiful of all the anemones. Yet because beauty is a comparative quality, the tall anemone might be called most beautiful of its tribe if the others were les...
-Thimbleweed
Mid-June, and the canopy of leaves to shade the oak woods has grown dense and the Lower strata has become shade-loving. Nothing which needs full sunshine will last long here, but the plants of the sum...
-Spotted Jewel-Weed (Snapweed. Touch-Me-Not)
Like a bit of hand-wrought golden jewelry set with tiny rubies, the flower of the jewel-weed sparkles in the morning sunshine streaming through the arching woodland trees. In the heavy soil of the riv...
-Indian Hemp
The Indian hemp, together with the smaller plant, spreading dogbane, is one of the slightly poisonous plants of America. It escapes being a menace to human life simply because there is little about th...
-Willow Amsonia
Tall, rather weedy-looking as a plant, with narrow, willow-like leaves, the Amsonia stands in the river-bottom pasture or in the waste land where no crops are planted because of annual floods. The Ams...
-Leather-Flower
In June when it is high summer in the river-bottom country, there blooms a strange flower along fences and in tangles on slopes. Leather-flower is a clematis and is one of the typical flowers of the r...
-Wood Lily
Stiff and straight with its simple, concise stalk and its whorls of leaves, the wood lily suddenly puts cups of flame in the shadows of the summer woods. Unlike the downward-hung hells of the Turk's c...
-Turk's Cap Lily (Wild Tiger Lily)
In late June, when the growing season in Illinois begins to get slightly out of hand, burgeons into weediness and too many grasshoppers, develops lush growth in the long hot days and short, steamy nig...
-Cleavers (Rough Bedstraw)
Cleavers is the largest of the bedstraws in Illinois. It is a coarse, harsh plant with long, weak, reclining or ascending stems along whose many ridges are innumerable saw-teeth. These rasp and tear a...
-Small Bedstraw
They are plants of the substrata of the midsummer woods - weak-stemmed, inconspicuous plants which till in the gaps among larger and more ostentatious plants. The bedstraws are numerous, much-branched...
-Small Plantain
Some of the plantains were here when Columbus landed on New World shores; others came afterward and soon grew abundantly. Where the white man traveled and set up his lodging, plantains sprang up next ...
-Catnip (Cat Mint)
The soft, downy, grey leaves and the downy, four-angled stems of catnip would point it out if nothing else identified this plant with the clusters of grey-white flowers. But when one crushes a leaf or...
-Mistletoe
Plant of the remote mythical past of the Old World, yet a part of the Illinois flora, mistletoe is a creature of legend. It grows wild in southern Illinois in counties bordering the rivers and forming...
-Wild Yam
In the rich soil of river bottoms in Illinois, particularly southward through the state, a plant which is kin to certain tropica] species thrives and blossoms and sets its seeds. This is the wild yam....
-Common Greenbrier (Cat Brier)
Vicious with thin, needle-like thorns, the green-brier makes a network of entangling vines which are bright green all winter long. Clusters of dark green fruits and a few shriveled leaves still hang o...
-Carrion Flower
Through the heavy black alluvial soil of the river-bottoms forest in spring there comes the asparagus-like tip of the carrion flower. It is stiff, not like a vine at first. The smooth stalk with its a...
-Moonseed
In that cluster of bluish-black fruits which look so much like frost grapes in the September woods, there are little crescent moons. They are hidden inside those frosty-looking berries hung on the old...
-Goat's-Beard
It is a steep north hillside where the oaks stand tall and small crisp ferns grow. Alter the hepatieas and bloodroot and dutchman's breeches bloom in April, there is little other bloom on that cold no...
-Wahoo (Burning Bush)
The wahoo or burning bush is remarkable at two seasons of the year - in early June when it blooms, and in autumn when it fruits. There is nothing else quite like the wahoo, nothing else which grows as...
-Black Snakeroot (Saniclc. Stick-Tights)
In the dry woods there comes the weedy-looking plant called sanicle or black snakeroot, with its somewhat aromatic leaves and stem and its reputation for healing. Long ago when the plant was named San...
-Hairy Penstemon (Beard Tongue)
Spring is over, and in its departure the blossoming of the hairy penstemon appears on the rocky hills and dry slopes of Illinois. The penstemon comes as a final gesture of May. an introduction to June...
-Sicklepod
In spring when the woods still contain the compact, the colorful, or the flowerful plants, there grows a tall, ragged-looking stem of a plant which seems to belong more to open roadsides in summer tha...
-Honewort
It comes when the woods of Illinois long since have been given over to the weedier plants and the lush growth of summer. The oak woods are dense and rank with harsh plants and stinging nettles, with h...
-Black-Eyed Susan
In June and July, flowers are found along roadsides and in sunny fields - now the face of the fields is painted with blossoms. The woods in spring bore the great burst of early bloom, but now the comi...
-The Fleabanes
Even though wild geraniums may bloom and a few violets may be left, it is a good indication that spring is waning when the fleabanes begin to bloom. In pastures and sunny places stand up the many-bran...
-White Avens
There are certain wild flowers which have earned the name of weed because of an undeniably disagreeable attribute of entangling themselves in the destinies of passersby. Nobody seems to love a flower ...
-Sheep Sorrel
When old pastures and unused fields of Illinois take on in miniature the colors of the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert, then spring is over and early summer is on the land. It is now that the shee...
-Pokeweed (Scoke. Garget. Indian Poke)
Thrusting through the moist earth of the April woods comes the Indian pokeweed. The shoots are pale green and succulent, in clumps, in groups, sometimes by dozens where there used to be an old woods c...
-Heart-Leaved Umbrellawort
Beside the railroad tracks, there in the cinder ballast where fast wheels roar past many times a day, there stands a low, bushy plant with delicate pink flowers like miniature azaleas. But it is not a...
-Wild Blackberry
Perhaps the most violently prickly plant in Illinois, not counting the green brier, may be the common blackberry with its viciously recurved prickle-thorns. Like those on some cultivated roses, these ...
-Common Cinquefoil (Five Finger)
Over the dry hilltop and among the low grasses, the traveling stems of common cinque-foil follows their whims and root where they rest on bare earth. They are very much like a strawberry in this, and ...
-Rough-Fruited Cinquefoil
It is always unmistakably June and summertime when, along sandy roads and on slopes and always in blazing hot sunshine, the pale yellow flowers of rough-fruited cinquefoil bloom. Potentilla r...
-Wild Rose
Pale pink, five petaled, wild roses, fragrant with the essence of early summer, grow in a prickly tangle along railroad tracks, in woods, and in upland pastures. Rosa Carolina L. May - Jun...
-Salsify (Oyster Plant)
Salsify was planted in gardens long ago in the days when only European garden seeds were known and planted in pioneer soil. But salsify didn't long remain in gardens. Its fluffy-headed seeds went flyi...
-Mayweed (Dog Fennel)
The neglected barnyard is odorous with the rank-smelling weeds which seem to gather about man and his farm abodes whenever he does not take the trouble to keep them weedless. The jimson, the poke, the...
-Yarrow (Milfoil)
A long time ago, far back in the days of heroic Greece when men were gods and gods were men, the hero Achilles, it is said, discovered certain medicinal virtues in aromatic leaves which he used in tre...
-Venus's Looking-Glass
There comes a plant in late. May and early June, an inconspicuous plant with a short stem set with clasping, cupped leaves, which grows in waste places and dry woods. Not at all important-looking, no ...
-Sleepy Catchfly
On the dry sunny slope at the top of the field, there where the fence protects many plant- which grow and bloom in the June sunshine, there are thin, wiry plants, two feet tall or so. which open tiny ...
-Bladder Campion
It came over from Europe - the bladder campion - and seeded itself abundantly along the roadsides. There, in Illinois as in England, the campion late in the afternoon opens its five, deeply cleft peta...
-Tall Meadow-Rue
Meadow-rue is a wind-pollinated plant whose tall stems hold their fluffy plumes of cream-white flowers high above most other vegetation in the tall growth of mid-June. The flower stems grow Prom a rou...
-White Sweet Clover (Melilot)
June is the froth of white and yellow sweet clover, the tall and bushy melilot along the country roadsides and in the broad and sunny fields. Melilot is fragrant from the moment the leaves grow in spr...
-White Clover
Over the landscape, meeting the sky, the clover fields are in bloom. The acres of red clover are covered with a rich, dusty rose color that is set off by the emerald of the nearby wheal and the fluff ...
-Prairie Clover
Across the prairies long ago, the summer was a time of many flowers, a time of blossom-brilliance and color. Prairie soil supported a large population of plants which were dependent for growth and lif...
-Glade Mallow
A nymph of the glades, said the botanist who named this rare mallow Napaea, because in Greek that is literally what the name means. The glade mallow, however, does no1 always live in the sandy woodlan...
-Upright Bindweed
The morning glories and bindweeds belong to a family which is largely tropical; this is true of most creeping and climbing plants, few of which are of northern origin. But the upright bindweed is a mo...
-Self-Heal (Heal-All)
Self-heal originally lived in Europe. Before the arrival of Columbus and the following hordes of Europeans who came to the shores of North America and traveled inland, there was no self-heal in all th...
-Motherwort
Long after the old farm house and the. barns and outbuildings disappear, the evidences of man's presence remain to tell of the past. The lilac bush beside the old stone slab which was a doorstep is st...
-Elderberry
They called it Sambucus, long ago, because that was the Latin name for a musical instrument, and it was known thai the stout, pithy stems of elder could be hollowed and made into a rude flute. And Sam...
-Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace)
It is June and a meadowlark sings in the wheat. On bowed wings he flits with a harsh sputtering and a flashing of white tail feathers to a fencepost across the field. Into the sunshine he thrusts his ...
-Field Milkwort
This member of the very diversified Milkwort family is, in the manner of most of its members, unlike most of the group. It is a slender Little plant with something of the appearance of a spring flower...
-Peruvian Daisy
Somehow, in some way, a long time ago, a little annual plant named Peruvian daisy came from Chile to the eastern half of the United States. It is a small and insignificant plant to have traveled so fa...
-Horse-Gentian (Fcvcrwort)
It is a strange plant. Triosteum, the horse-gentian. In the same family as the honeysuckles, the twinflower, the Viburnums, and the elderberry, it seems to have the characteristics of none of these ki...
-Butter-And-Eggs (Wild Snapdragon. Toadflax)
Comparatively few of the native summer flowers of America will bloom along roads and in vacant lots, in waste places and dumps and edges of fields. It is, oddly enough, the plants brought over acciden...
-Great Mullein
The great mullein is to the plains and middle-western hills what the saguaro cactus is to the des-erl a massive accent upon the landscape, an exclamation mark against the sky. The mullein does no1 app...
-Moth Mullein
The mulleins came over from Europe and grew readily in the American landscape. They are ornamental, but even though some of their clan have been civilized to the extent that they appear in nursery and...
-Hedge Nettle
In flowers of the Mini family, insects are Deeded to pollinate them and insure a good crop of seeds. The structure of the Bower, however, is such that a bee would have a difficult time entering the tu...
-Wood Sage (American Germander)
Wood sage is a member of the Mint family, or Labiatae, meaning the Lipped Ones. Most members of the family, a very large one and very diverse in form, yet always unmistakably mints, have a four-sided,...
-Fog-Fruit
The margin of the pond has its own peculiar plant life which grows among the grasses bending over the water. There is Eclipta and there are calamus beds, and a few cattails, perhaps some swamp milkwee...
-Hoary Vervain
There are only a few wild verbenas in America as compared with the numbers of the family in the tropics where most of them are found. Of the verbenas east of the Rockies, it is the vervains which pred...
-Common Milkweed
The tall, splendid milkweed plant along the weedy road is one of the most remarkable plants to be found at any season. It is ex-tremely complicated in its flower mechanism, bears a milky juice which i...
-Sullivant's Milkweed
The wet prairie, descended from Pleistocene swamps and lakes, basically contains water-growing plants. In the succession of plant species, as the shallow lake filled with vegetation, there came the ca...
-Poke Milkweed. Blunt-Leaved Milkweed
There are three milkweeds which are widely different vet contain as characteristics the basic requirements of a milkweed - milky juice, opposite leaves, intricate flowers designed in such a manner tha...
-Cow Parsnip
This, the king of the parsnips, is a regal plant. Huge, stout, massive, the. corded, hollow stems support the great broad umbels of small, snowy flowers. The leaves are among the largest found in our ...
-Wild Parsnip
A very long time ago in the period when Roman culture was the most important way of life in the limited scope of the world of that time, there grew a biennial herb in the Italian fields and roadsides....
-Horse-Nettle
When the plows and gardens of the east moved westward - when the rutted wagon trails traveled deeper and deeper into the sod and further and further into the far west, certain plants and insects backt...
-Evening Primrose
Softly in the twilighl the four silken petals of the evening primrose moved apart from the tapered formation of the bud and with a silken sound they lay open to the moths of dusk. All day the long-tub...
-Wild Bergamot
A crisply erect, square-sided, stem with velvety, opposite leaves and a mass of pale orchid-lavender blooms at. the top means wild bergamot. Perhaps it is a weed. Its growth has that sturdy, unconquer...
-Tickseed (Coreopsis)
The Coreopsis flowers axe plants of the prairie, sun plants which soak up the growing heat of the sunshine from June almost all the way through the Illinois summer. Coreopsis lanceolata L. ...
-Prickly-Pear Cactus
Where the fine sands of old Illinois dunes and sand fields in the river regions bake under the summer sunshine, the silken yellow petals of prickly-pear cacti bloom briefly and are done. They are plan...
-Golden-Aster
In the Band country in midsummer, and well into September, the slopes of old dunes and the wind-blown roadsides are brighl with the yellow flowers of golden-aster. The flowers are an inch wide with nu...
-New Jersey Tea (Redroot)
The army of George Washington had a hard time keeping supplies coming through to the lines. Times were difficult and the pinch of hunger and cold made itself felt too often for the good of army morale...
-Hairy Ruellia (Wild Petunia)
It is a strangely diverse family, the Acanthus family. Several thousand years ago one of its members, known even then as the Acanthus, inspired tle most ornate of the three types of architectural colu...
-Laciniate Evening Primrose
Where the yellow-brown sands of the glacial outwashes near the rivers blow in a fine sifting whenever a breeze is about, the hairy stalks of laciniate evening primrose stand up compactly. In a special...
-Partridge Pea
Although the leaves of partridge pea are not as sensitive to touch as those of the related wild sensitive plant, they nevertheless have a degree of response which causes the thin little leaflets to mo...
-Orange Butterfly Weed (Pleurisy Root)
Plant of the sand country, blossom of the sunny prairie, denizen of broad sunshine and dry soil. the orange butterfly weed sets a spot of brilliant pigment on the prairie. The plant makes a broad, spr...
-Poppy Mallow
Along the roadsides and in the black oak woods of the sand country there blossom in summer the bright flowers of poppy mallow. It is a color and a form not common in this pari of the country; and the ...
-Common White Water Crowfoot
To submerge many a terrestial plant is to drown it, but certain plants are peculiarly fitted to live underwater and cannot survive long elsewhere. In slowly moving streams and broad, shallow swamps th...
-Pickerelweed
Bright blue in the morning sunshine which sparkles across the dew-wet marsh, the flowers of the pickerelweeds open to their fullest beauty. The flower is almost orchid-like, yet is related to the wate...
-Arrowhead (Wapato. Duck Potato)
It is midsummer in the marshes. The cattails are tall and are full of heavy brown seed-heads. Mallows blossom along the shores, smartweed is bright pink, the arrowheads are in bloom. Their plants fill...
-Water Hemlock
When midsummer comes with the full force of July, and the moist places grow less moist and the dry places bake in the sun, the water hemlock blooms along the grassy, wet edges of ponds and swamps. ...
-Buttonbush
Along the backwater shores of the river, the buttonbush puts out its honey balls for midsummer bees. Buttonbush is a low shrub of the wet lands, of the black, caked, alluvial soil remaining after floo...
-Halberd-Leaved Rose Mallow
In late summer when the water level nightly falls in ponds and swamps and rivers, and when the tall while egrets come wading in the shallows of the marshes, the halberd-leaved mallows bloom. Early in ...
-Lizard-Tail
In the days of long ago there came slow-plodding camels into the noisy marketplaces of Athens, Rome, Alexandria and Damascus, with pungent bags of pepper and other spices from the Orient. These eagerl...
-Swamp Milkweed
Where the ground is saturated with water along the stream and in the wet pasture, or in the roadside ditch which never dries, there stand the tall stalks of swamp milkweed. In July and August they are...
-American Lotus (Chinquapin. Yonkapin)
In midsummer the Illinois River and its adjoining lakes, as well as many other still waters over much of Illinois, become a land of pale yellow lotuses blossoming, acre upon acre, across the state. La...
-Queen-Of-The-Prairie
Queen-of-the-prairie is a rare wild spiraea which blossoms in July in certain chosen spots in northern Illinois. It is a plant not of the western prairies but of those extending west of the Alleghenie...
-St. John's-Wort
Saint John His Wort is the old terminology; the old English name wort simply means plant. The Hypericum is St. John's Plant for no particular reason, though many species bloom on St. John's Day, J...
-Frostweed
Flower of the Sun this is Helianthemum, whose Latin name means just that. At the top of the slender woody stem there opens a bright, pale yellow blossom, much like a small yellow single rose. It opens...
-Field Bindweed (Wild Morning Glory)
Around the dingiest tenements, bordering the forbidding fences around grimy factories, in the black, cindery ballast of railroad embankments and railroad yards, the field bindweed produces bright whit...
-Man-Of-The-Earth (Macoupin)
There was a good deal to eat in the land of the Illiniwek - if you knew where to look for it. There were cattail and calamus roots, and cakes to be made of cattail pollen or acorn meal or panic grass ...
-Dodder
Dodder is one of the strange parasitic plants which are part of the Illinois flora. Dodder starts out as a plant with roots in the soil, where the small seeds have germinated, but as the thready yello...
-Trumpet-Vine (Trumpet-Creeper)
The river forest is dark and sometimes eerie and brooding in the half light which finds its way through the dense leafy canopy held high above the ground. The ground is covered in summer with a low ju...
-Fringed Loosestrife
Like yellow primroses, in whose family they actually are, the fringed loosestrife flowers open in midsummer when hot sun and dry wind might wither more delicate flowers. But fringed loosestrife, in th...
-Starry Campion
Most summer flowers are stout and sturdy and the flowers themselves are able to withstand much sunshine and heat without withering. But the starry campion, Bower of midsummer woods, is as delicate as ...
-Rough Pennyroyal
Small, aromatic, low, the pennyroyal may be walked upon without anyone noticing that it is there, until the sweet aroma of the crushed leaves and stems fills the summer air. Pennyroyal is one of the m...
-Heart-Leaved Skullcap
In the oak woods where shade is deep in summer, there come two purple flowers, the tall bellflower and the skullcap. They do notl seem to need much sun in which to grow tall and blossom abundantly all...
-Purple Coneflower
It is a startlingly different sort of color, that purple-pink of the purple coneflower blossoming in a damp ditch beside the road or below the ballast of a railroad embankment. The plant is a stately ...
-Indian Pipe
A creation in white wax set among the ferns and mosses, the Indian pipe on a Late summer day puts a special quality of excitement in the woods. Devoid of all color, the strange, brittle-looking pipes ...
-American Bellflower
Tall among the summer trees, the spires of lavender-blue bellflowers relieve the Illinois woods of a degree of weediness and overgrowth into which by midsummer they seem to have plunged. There are net...
-Mullein Foxglove
Above the river the woods in summer are dense and shaded. Mosquitoes sing their hunting songs, Redstarts with their flash of flame and black and fan tails chatter all day in the maples. The prothonota...
-Yellow False Foxglove
The yellow false foxglove is a splendid addition to the summer woodland flora of Illinois. Aureolaria grandiflora (Benth.) Pennell. Woods. July - August. On the hogback ridge where the ...
-Great Blue Lobelia
In the early autumn the roadside ditches and woodland streamsides often show spikes of a bright blue flower a deep, almost ultramarine blue marked with while on the three-parted lip. This is the great...
-Joe-Pye Weed
Tall and regal stand the Joe-pye. weeds in the August woods. The bellflower is in bloom; so is skullcap. It is hot and sticky and quiet in the woods, quiet except for the incessant buzzing of insects....
-White Snakeroot
Nancy Lincoln lay ill in the earth-floored cabin in Kentucky, and no one knew what to do about it. The lean cow out in the woods pasture stood about listlessly and trembled in spasms of shivering that...
-Ladies' Tresses
The rich vanilla-fragrance of ladies' tresses along the autumn trail is a startling and most pleasant experience. There where the trail through the mixed hardwoods comes out into the broad sunshine, w...
-Tickseed Sunflower (Beggar-Ticks)
Now in September there comes over the countryside that true autumn glory which reaches a climax of color in the massing of yellow everywhere. September is the yellow time; now the tickseed sunflowers ...
-Common Sunflower
The sunflower, said the ancient Greeks, is Clyte, a sea nymph who fell in love with the sun, was changed into a sunflower, and forever follows the daily movements of the sun across the sky. The Americ...
-Hairy Sunflower
Twenty-five sunflowers and many subspecies are listed in Gray's Manual of Botany, 1950 edition, and of these many are found in Illinois; most of them bloom in September. Helianthus mollis Lam...
-Prairie Coneflower
Along certain highways and the railroad right-of-way in Illinois, there are plants which are remnants of the old prairie, most of which has been plowed and its flora changed. Usually in plowed prairie...
-Blazing Star Gayfeather
They are plants of the open prairie - these members of a dramatic and magnificent family, the Liatris. In manner of growth and in color and size, the Liatris clan is unique in the world of bright prai...
-Hill's Thistle
Grotesque and somewhat over-elaborate as a flower, Hill's thistle in June sets its large flowers above ten-to-twenty-inch stalks on the sunshiny prairie. The plant is low and stout and finely downy, a...
-Field Thistle
Now thistles bloom. Their pink-purple flowers are an emblem of the greatness of growth and the strength of life in early autumn. They are part of a Landscape which includes the first scarlet buckeye l...
-Rosin Weed (Compass Plant)
A giant on the prairies, the rosin weed grows in the blazing hot sunshine of the Illinois summer. It is part of that picture which remains to tell of the old prairie when plants like this one grew for...
-Prairie Dock
As distinctive as the tremendous wands of flowers which mark the presence of rosin weed are the tall stalks of the prairie dock which rise above great spade-shaped leaves. The leaves themselves are in...
-Canada Goldenrod (Tall Goldenrod)
A very important part of the seasonal atmosphere would be lost if there were no goldenrods in bloom from late July until October ... if there were none of those golden plumes bending as one in the sum...
-Some Other Goldenrods
There are some distinct species whose names stand out in the Long list of goldenrods. Seventy-five members of the genus are listed in the new, revised Gray's Manual of Botany (1950), and a large numbe...
-Heath Aster (Frost Aster. Frostweed)
Everywhere over the countryside, over Illinois from one end to the other, from the Wisconsin border to the meeting of the rivers at Cairo, from the Wabash to the Mississippi, and over a large part of ...
-New England Aster (Purple Aster)
When the deep purple blossoms of New England aster blossom along the roads, then we know that autumn is ripening to that point which calls a halt to new flowers. This is the last and its color is perh...
-Suggested References
Deam, Charles C. Flora of Indiana. Department of Conservation, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1940. Eifert, Virginia S. Flowers That Bloom in the Spring. Illinois State Museum, Springfield. 1951. Fernal...









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