Category: Northeast Chapter

New Illustrated Botanical Glossary for the Flora of the Chicago Region

Glossary text by Gerould Wilhelm & Laura RerichaGlossary illustrations by Kathleen Marie Garness An excellent new illustrated botanical glossary was recently published by the Conservation Research Institute and Indiana Academy of Science. It is a freely available companion to the Flora of the Chicago Region (2017), written by Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha. This new…
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White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

Ageratina altissima, or white snakeroot, is the only species of its genus found in the Chicagoland region, but it is widespread, even weedy. (The more than 300 species in the genus Ageratina mainly occur in the warmer regions of the Americas and West Indies.) White snakeroot is an herbaceous perennial around 1.5-3’ tall with opposite,…
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Our Native Lilies-of-the-valley

When visiting prairie fens, oak savannas, and woodlands this time of year, you may encounter flowering Maianthemum stellatum (previously Smilacina stellata); its common names include star-flowered lily-of-the-valley and starry false Solomon’s seal. Its name derives from its showy, white flowers, which are replaced by striped green berries that ripen into a deep red later in…
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Chiwaukee Prairie: steps in time

The distance from the Lake Michigan shore at the Wisconsin-Illinois border to the Union Pacific railway tracks is roughly one mile. In that mile lies 10,000 years of the Earth’s history, from the last glacier’s retreat to today’s ridges and swales—and you can walk it in less than half an hour. The railway tracks, dug…
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INPS @ IBSP 2019

This Memorial Day, the Northeast Chapter joined a group of volunteers that have gone on a plant walk at Illinois Beach State Park for the past 35 Memorial Days. It’s a fantastic tour of a fantastic natural area every year. This year we had over 60 people attend. That’s not a typo—over 60 people! Due…
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Sedging at Harms Woods

Northeast Chapter members who joined site steward, John Balaban, and North Branch Restoration Project volunteer, Katie Miller, at Harms Woods Forest Preserve on June 8 were rewarded by a generous abundance of sedges. Thirty-one Carex species were identified during the outing, including one state-endangered and one state-threatened species (not listed here). The woodland wildflowers also did…
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Northeast Chapter at the INPS Annual Gathering

Botany enthusiasts from throughout the Chicagoland region converged in Oglesby, Illinois last month at the 2019 INPS Annual Gathering. The highlights of Friday evening’s mixer, in addition to reconnecting with old friends from throughout the state, were the research updates provided by several 2018 research grant award winners and the keynote presentation on the Dixon…
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How to learn your flora in 2019

Crunchy brown leaves, drab gray skies, and a lot of snow didn’t stop Illinois plant enthusiasts from botanizing this past winter. The Illinois Native Plant Society has run the Illinois Botanists Big Year competition each year since 2016, using the iNaturalist.org platform. Anyone may participate, from professional botanists to plant identification novices, by uploading photographic…
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How does flower-timing affect reproductive success in a woodland spring ephemeral?

Spring ephemeral flowers are an important food resource for early-season pollinators such as flies and native bees. Without ephemerals, these early foragers would go hungry because nothing else is in bloom. In return for their pollen and nectar, pollinators move pollen from flower to flower—an important step in plant reproduction that allows plants to produce…
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Genetic health of the state endangered downy paintbrush (Castilleja sessiliflora)

Downy paintbrush (Castilleja sessiliflora) is a wildflower native to dry prairies in the central United States. Though considered secure throughout most of its range, downy paintbrush is endangered in Illinois. Troublingly, recent research has indicated that downy paintbrush experiences low fruit set in Illinois, meaning it may be struggling to produce healthy seeds. While this…
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