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 to the large numbers, we could not “corral” everyone through the walk at the same pace, and we had to split up. I don’t think anyone missed anything though. Between flooded conditions and the early season conditions, we all got to see most of what the site had to offer that day.

Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum)

Orobanche uniflora (Aphyllon uniflorum, one-flowered cancer root)

You couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was a perfect morning: windy, cool, and sunny. However, since the burn season in fall 2018 was basically nonexistent, the burn in spring 2019 may not have initiated a growing season that was as early as in previous years. We noted that the tips of some Juncus were blackened, which indicated a later spring burn than usual.

While many species that we normally see on this walk were not blooming due to early conditions, we enjoyed a glorious hike with many of the great species we expected to see such as three species of puccoon, wood betony, Canada mayflower, false toadflax, lupine, and an abundance of sedges. Highlights of the walk this year were definitely Orobanche uniflora (now Aphyllon uniflorum), bladderworts, Lake Michigan, and of course the company of fellow plant enthusiasts, the joy of which always abounds at events like this.

The second half of the day was a bit rainy, but many of us braved the wet and wind to visit Chiwaukee Prairie, just over the border into Wisconsin. Worth it!