The middle of July is a great time to walk among (or at the edges of) the blooming wildflowers that cover much of the un-mowed sections of Eliza Howell fields. The pictures below are of some of the most common and easily seen species present at this time.
All or almost all of these can be found in the park areas outside the road loop on the south side, where native prairie seeds were spread a number of years ago.
NOTE: These flowers will be featured in the public nature walk on July 14, 2018, at 11:00.
The blooming flowers attract many butterflies and other insects. Part 2 will identify some of the butterflies most frequently seen in July in EHP.
Bergamot is similar to the “beebalm” often grown in flower gardens, but is not red like the most common cultivated variety. It might be the most common flower of all in the park in July.
A variety of tall perennial yellow flowers are native to North America. Many bloom a little later in the year. Heliopsis blooms in July.
Joe Pye Weed
Joe Pye Weed, another tall perennial, is just beginning to bloom. It is reportedly named after a Native American who took the name “Joe Pye” and was known for using this plant for medicinal purposes.
Black-eyed Susan is another flower that is widely used in home gardens.
Queen Anne’s Lace
This flower, related to the cultivated carrot, is sometimes called “wild carrot.” Its flower (flat cluster – umbel – on top), rather than its root, is the primary attraction.
If interested in watching for butterflies and bees (and possibly hummingbirds), taking a position near the coneflowers is a good strategy.
Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family and, true to its name, attracts many butterflies, especially Monarchs.
Mullein is sometimes called the “velvet plant” for the soft feel of the leaves. It has a single tall flowering stem. The stems are strong enough that the previous-year dead stalks are sometimes still standing the next summer.
There are not nearly as many blue flowers as there are yellow and white and purple; chicory is one. Its roots have often been ground and used as a coffee additive or even a coffee substitute.
This is often called “soapwort” and was\is used to make soap. As I understand it, “bouncing bet” was a term sometimes used for washerwoman.
Because of its thick spreading growth, Crown Vetch was brought to the US for erosion control in the middle of the 20th century. It has now become naturalized and is found in many parts of the country.
Canada Thistle is nearing the end of its blooming season in the middle of July, but it continues to attract insects and birds. Goldfinches will be in the thistle patches for the next few weeks, eating the seeds.
Both Yellow and White Sweetclover, usually considered separate species, are found in EHP and both can be seen in this picture. Sweetclover is a popular species for honey production.
These are among the most easily spotted wild flowers in the middle of July in Eliza Howell Park. They attract not only butterflies (see Part 2) and bees, but also humans like me.