Little Wolf Nature Preserve

Preserving Beautiful Kentucky

Jul
02

June Wildflowers in Little Wolf Nature Preserve

Posted by Timm

Yucca

Although yucca plants are more prevalent in the desert southwest, some yuccas are native in Kentucky too.  The yucca’s oblong fruit can be cooked and eaten if the seeds are removed.

    

   

Wild Strawberry?

I typically find these solitary, raspberry-sized berries low to the ground on cut grass roads.  This may be a wild strawberry, but I’d certainly want confirmation before putting it in my mouth.  I saw one report saying these berries taste terrible.  By the way, I am not a flower expert, so please comment if you know more about any of these flowers.

  

  

Red Clover

Red Clover was introduced from Europe and planted in the USA as a hay crop.  Clover stores nitrogen in its roots and is used to improve soil fertility.

  

  

Day Lily

Hundreds of Day Lilies blanket the shoulder along Little Wolf Creek Road.  A native of Europe, Day Lilies were brought to American gardens and then escaped cultivation into the wild.  Every part of a Day Lily is edible, and the flower buds taste like green beans when cooked and served with butter.

  

  

Wild Wisteria

At first we thought this Wild Wisteria was the highly invasive Kudzu, until we saw its pretty purple flowers.

   

   

Alien-looking flower

I have no idea what this interesting alien-looking flower is.

  

   

Silktree

Silktrees are covered with fragrant, wispy pink flowers in June.

  

  

Wild Petunia?

This may be a Wild Petunia.

  

  

Partridgeberry?

These may be flowers of the Partridgeberry, an evergreen herb.

  

   

Wild Rose

I was surprised to see so many Wild Rose bushes at Little Wolf.

   

  

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil gets its name because the flowers are shaped like—you guessed it—a bird’s foot.

  

  

Yarrow

In the old days, Yarrow was also known as herbal militaris for its use in stopping the flow of blood from wounds.

  

  

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Japanese Honeysuckle were introduced to the USA from Japan.  They escaped cultivation and have become an invasive species all across the country.  We have lots of honeysuckle at Little Wolf, but I love the intensely fragrant flowers.  There are two “Smell Days” each year.  The first smell day each year is from wild roses, and the second is from the flowers of honeysuckle bushes and locust trees.

  

  

Chinese Privet

Chinese Privet is a member of the olive family.  As the name suggests, this shrub is native to China and is considered an invasive species in the USA.

  

  

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed is a species of milkweed that’s native to eastern North America.  It’s aptly named because butterflies love it.  Butterflies are drawn to the bright colored flowers and abundance of nectar in Butterfly Weed.

  

  

Chickweed

This petite flower of the Chickweed is no bigger than a pencil eraser yet it’s everywhere in the grass at Little Wolf.  Chickweed is considered a weed, but it can be eaten in a salad, and it’s a favorite food of chickens and birds.

  

   

Black-Eyed Susan

The Butterfly Field is full of Black-Eyed Susans, a native prairie biennial. 

  

  

Hyssop Skullcap

Hyssop Skullcap are endangered in the northeast USA but grow well in Kentucky.

  

  

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Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet Pimpernel is also known as the “Poor Man’s Weather Glass” because the flowers close in bad weather.

  

  

Horse Nettle

Horse Nettle is a deep-rooted native perennial.  Eradication requires shoveling deep into the soil.

  

  

Smartweed

Smartweed is quite common throughout the USA.

  

  

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as Wild Carrot, produces wide flower heads 3-5” in diameter.  Though the flower is quite pretty, it’s considered a problem weed.  The flower is derived from the garden carrot, and its first-year root can be cooked and eaten.

  

  

Very tiny flower

I’m not sure what this very tiny flower is.

  

  

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Notice the companion flower.  Not sure what this is.

  

  

Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed is a tall (up to 6 feet high), drooping plant that produces many large, fragrant flower balls that can grow larger than a grapefruit.  Milkweed is very important because monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweeds.

  

  

Woodland Sunflower

There are about 20 species of sunflower that bloom in the USA.  I believe this is a Woodland Sunflower.

  

  

Deptford Pink

Deptford Pink are native to Europe but were introduced and have become naturalized in the USA.  This elusive flower seems to bloom for only a couple days and closes up nightly.  Deptford Pink are tiny and hug the ground.  I’ve seen them in only two places at Little Wolf.  This gem of a flower is even prettier in person.

 

Many of these flowers were identified with the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers (Eastern Region)

  1. Laurie Said,

    Quite the variety of flowers. I am amazed how plants get seeded, wind, insects, birds and whatever else. I have some lovely trees and plants that just end up growing, mostly in places that unfortunately are the best places and I have to remove them.
    Your flowers are beautiful. Question: Do you eat some of the edible ones?

  2. Timm Said,

    I have learned that the red “alien-looking flowers” are Carolina Cranesbill seedpods.

    @Laurie: So far the only thing we’ve been brave enough to eat are the blackberries. Thanks for commenting!

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    Little Wolf Nature Preserve is a private preserve located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Southern Kentucky, USA.

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