Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oct. 3, 2011 - Fall Woodland Wildflowers at Olin Lake Nature Preserve

In April and May local woodlands burst with wildflowers, but as new leaves set on throughout May, the display diminishes.  A different set of woodland wildflowers appears in the fall, not as showy as in the spring, but interesting and beautiful in its own way.  Olin Lake Nature Preserve located about 4 miles northwest of Wolcottville IN [or 7-8 miles south of LaGrange] is a fine place for a fall woodland flower walk.
At the corner of LaGrange County Roads 550S & 125E
Olin Lake is the largest lake in Indiana to have no development on its shores.  The Lake connects on the north to the larger Oliver Lake with many homes.  A trail leads from the parking lot to the south shore of the lake.
The woodland trail ends at the south shore of Olin Lake
Two woodland goldenrods grow near the beginning of Olin Lake trail, the Wreath or Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod and the Zigzag Golden. [Please click on photos to see the plants in greater detail.]
Wreath or Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod, Solidago caesia
Close-up of S. caesia
Flowers of most goldenrod species are at the end of the stem, but flowers of Wreath Goldenrod, S. caesia, are along the stem, between the leaves.  The long, narrow leaves of the Wreath Goldenrod are typical of most goldenrod species' leaves, but the leaves of the Zigzag Goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis, are nearly as broad as long.
Zigzag Goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis
The inflorescence and broad leaves of Zigzag Goldenrod
At least four species of asters are flowering along the trail, but because I have trouble identifying species with subtle structural differences, I'm including the photo of only one, the Big-Leaved Aster.
Big-Leaved Aster, Aster macrophyllus
Tall Rattlesnakeroot is also in bloom, but its small, greenish-white flowers are easy to miss.
Tall Rattlesnakeroot, Prenanthes altissima
A lower leaf of Tall Rattlesnakeroot
Lower leaves of Tall Rattlesnakeroot tend to be three-lobed, but higher up on the stem they are most often unlobed.

By fall fruits are set on many of the plants that flower in spring.  Below are the fall fruit and spring flower of Blue Cohosh.
Berries of Blue Cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides
Blue Cohosh green flowers, May 3, 2011
[As always, I will appreciate comments on the accuracy/inaccuracy of any of the plant identifications.]

1 comment:

  1. This morning I saw several stands of Wreath or Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod (see photo above) in Shoup-Parsons Woods, just below the Goshen Dam.