Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011 A Wee Wetland at Bonneyville

(Note: You may enlarge each photo by clicking on it.)
Tower at Bonneyville Mill County Park
Looking east to wetland from entrance to Tower Picnic Area
There's more in this wetland than first meets your eye.
Across the road from the Tower Picnic Area at Bonneyville Mill County Park is a small wetland, uninteresting at first glance.  There is an unusual flowering plant growing there - Swamp Saxifrage, Saxifraga pensylvanica.  The USDA Plant Database - Swamp Saxifrage lists it in Elkhart and adjacent counties, but so far we haven't seen it anywhere but here.  (Please comment below if you have found it growing elsewhere.)
Swamp Saxifrage
Swamp Saxifrage flowers up close
The long (2-3 feet) flower stalks bolt from whorls of basal leaves.  The greenish-yellow flowers are more interesting than they are beautiful, but I keep going back to find them in this same small wetland each year since I first found and keyed them out four years ago.  I had never heard of them before then.

Other plants that grow in the wetland are horsetails (a primitive, non-flowering plant), Skunk Cabbage, Marsh Marigold, Blue Flag Iris, White Springcress and Golden Ragwort.  The Skunk Cabbage and Marsh Marigold are done blooming for the year, and the Blue Flag likely won't bloom until June, if at all.  Golden Ragwort are the most dominant flower now, but White Springcress are in bloom too.
Golden Ragwort, Packera aurea
White Springcress, Cardamine bulbosa

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