Wildflowers Sunday – in the coolness of the woods

Nothing is more soothing on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon than the coolness quiet of the woods. Gazing at flowering plants of Lilium michiganense, collecting blue beads of Clintonia borealis, checking on the Trillium and Uvularia fruits, taking a closer look at an Indian-pipe, and another one at Desmodium nudicaule…perfect!

Lilium michiganense

Lilium michiganense – Michigan lily; enjoyed by hummingbirds, sphinx moths and butterflies! Not difficult to grow from seeds.

The Indian pipe or ghost plant (Monotropa uniflora) is a very ‘cool’ plant – parasitic on fungi that are mycorrhizal with the trees (a so called myco-heterotrophic plant). It grows in the understory of the woods, always close to trees, of course. Who needs light, eh?

Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)

Clintonia borealis – the blue-bead lily is another interesting perennial for shade; not very noticeable in the spring with its clump of green, fleshy leaves and few greenish-yellow flowers, but nobody can miss it from mid to late summer because of its conspicuous blue fruits, which start glistening through the woodland filtered light.

Clintonia borealis fruits

Clintonia borealis with fruits

To be grown as a rarity; it is slow to propagate and to reach flowering size from seeds. Underneath the thin blue skin, the seeds are enclosed into a white, fleshy coating. According to Cullina, they require moist storage; I should have listened a few years ago when I tried to germinate (with no result) dry seeds. One for the collector gardener.

2 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      I like it too; almost impossible to cultivate (with the right trees and fungi inoculum…).

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