Skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, with odd flowers like something from a science-fiction movie. The plant can bloom when there is still snow on the ground. The bizarre flowers are followed by huge rosettes of broad leaves that disappear by summer. Read this article to learn more about this interesting native plant…

Goldenrod Gall Fly, Eurosta solidagnis

You’ve probably seen spherical swellings on goldenrod stems at one time or another, but do you know what caused those? A type of small fly with patterned wings is responsible for the most common gall on goldenrods. To learn more about the goldenrod gall fly and how it creates those golf ball-sized growths, read this article…

Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia

This time of year the leaves of Virginia creeper turn from an average green to a brilliant crimson red, painting tree trunks and the ground on woodland edges with bright color once temperatures cool. Learn more about this vigorous native vine that adapts to many different conditions and soils in this article…

Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum

Mayapple is a native wildflower with distinctive, deeply lobed, umbrella-shaped leaves. It forms dense colonies in open deciduous woodlands and other shaded sites.  It can be a wonderful groundcover, outcompeting most weeds in a woodland garden or naturalized setting. To learn more about this unique herbaceous perennial, read this article…

Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum

Geranium maculatum is a pretty flowering plant native to eastern North America. In addition to filling natural woodland openings, this herbaceous perennial works well in informal gardens as well, offering loose clusters of pink flowers in late spring to early summer. Learn more about wild geranium in this article…

Hepatica

Spring is heralded in Wisconsin woodlands by a number of wildflowers. One of the earliest of these is Hepatica, with delicate, starry flowers in a range of colors from white to purple. Learn more about these native plants in the buttercup family, whose tri-lobed leaves were once thought to have medicinal properties, by reading this article…

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium

Looking for a native plant with winter interest? Rattlesnake master is an herbaceous perennial from the prairies whose unusual golf ball-like flowers heads are rather sculptural. Although at home in native gardens, it also works well as an accent in the perennial border. To learn more about this plant, read this article…

Northern Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum

With finely cut foliage, northern maidenhair fern is an attractive addition to shade gardens with rich moist soil. Adiantum pedatum is just one of many maidenhair ferns, although the only one hardy in our area. It has distinctive, fine-textured fronds on dark-colored stems up to 2 feet tall. Learn more about this native species in this article…

Chicory, Cichorium intybus

Do you recognize those blue flowers along the roadside that will keep blooming until frost (if not mowed off)? That’s chicory, an escaped, naturalized European plant that has been used for food and forage since ancient times, although most Americans know it just as a weed. To learn more about Chicorium intybus, read this article…

Erythronium ‘Pagoda’

With big yellow flowers, the Erythronium hybrid ‘Pagoda’ is a great addition to shady gardens. Developed from two species of native North American wildflowers, this spring bloomer will naturalize in woodland gardens and combines well with bleeding heart, columbine and hostas. To learn more about this garden ornamental, read this article…

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Early spring bloomers are much appreciated after a long, cold winter. Bloodroot is one of the first wildflowers to open its bright white flowers in Midwestern woodlands. This native plant is at home in deciduous forests and in gardens where appropriate conditions can be provided. To learn more about this spring wildflower, read this article…

Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum spp.

Solomon’s seals are woodland plants with arching stems. There are a number of both native and exotic species and cultivars that are used primarily as foliage plants in ornamental shade gardens (as their small hanging flowers are attractive, but relatively inconspicuous). To learn more about the genus Polygonatum read this article…

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