September 4, 2022
A few weeks ago my husband and I visited my daughter and daughter-in-law in Madison, Wisconsin. This year our Wisconsinites took us to the walking trail of the nearby Holy Wisdom Monastery. We started in a woodsy area, travelled through terrain more like a meadow with trees, and finally came to the prairie.
2 I thought this might be a fruit tree because of how it was pruned, but my resident botanist said he wouldn’t go that far. He had no idea what kind of tree it was.
2′ For Mic.
3 We saw many birches like this one on the grounds.
5 A few of the willows were gigantic.
6 This one had polypore fungus (maybe Laetiporus sulphureus) growing on it.
7 Seeing this elderberry bush from afar, I thought the red parts were flowers. Instead, they are the structures that bore the flowers and now hang on to a few berries the birds have missed.
8 When we came to the prairie, the sky looked, ah, interesting. But we didn’t get any rain or even wind.
9 I was astounded by the variety of plants in the prairie.
10 Most abundant, perhaps, was the grass called big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii).
11 Big bluestem is also known as tall bluestem, bluejoint, and turkeyfoot.
12 Big bluestem was growing throughout the prairie among plants whose names were unknown to my botanist husband.
13 The yellow flower is “some kind of composite,” he says.
14 David knew this white flower as a baptisia. It’s also called false indigo, false lupine, or redneck lupine.
15 I’d never seen many of the plants in the monastery prairie even though many, like this cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum), are said to be found in Ohio as well as the five states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana) that border Ohio.
16 This purple-flowered plant is another one whose identity stumped David.
17 This purple-flowered plant, clearly related to the one in #16, was equally baffling.
18 Here’s another stumper. “I really don’t know that much about prairie plants,” David had to admit.
19 Pretty much everyone might agree that this is a grass. But which?
20 Same for this one . . .
21 If this is Hill’s thistle (Cirsium hillii), it is a Wisconsin Threatened and Federal Species of Concern plant. How nice that many specimens were flourishing at the monastery.