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May 31, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Door County Wildflowers

Watercress

Watercress (nasturtium officinale) is an aquatic plant, this one found near the shores of Lake Michigan. It is edible – the leaves are high in Vitamins A and C and iron, and was a popular plant with the early settlers of North America as it was a successful treatment and preventative of scurvy. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought eating the plant increased mental functions. It is still widely used in cooking – added to salads and sandwiches for a spicy and tangy flavor and also made into watercress soup. The flowers are savory and used as edible garnishes.

Dwarf Lake Iris

This 3 to 4 inch high Dwarf Lake Iris (iris lacustris) is found near the northern shores of The Great Lakes where it grows in the limey soil and in the cool climate. It only grows in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan. I probably saw a thousand of these flowers on my recent visit to Door County in northern Wisconsin, but the flowers are actually rare and on the threatened list of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It has a very limited habitat and that is shrinking because of shoreline development and the use of off-road vehicle and chemical pesticides.

Wild Strawberry

This is Wild or Common Strawberry (fragaria virginiana) a variety of the plant which produces the familiar bright red strawberry. The cultivated plant is a hybrid of this native plant and the South American variety. Native Americans used the juice of the strawberry for an eye remedy, and herbalists still use the roots to treat kidney stones and gonorrhea. It is a common plant in Door County, flowering in May and June in meadows, fields, woodlands and setting its berries in June.

8 Comments

  1. Ron in L.A. / May 31 2008 2:53 am

    top photo is beautiful Bo 😉

    R (etc… )

  2. rlovison / May 31 2008 6:25 am

    Bo,

    The first and second images are my favorites. I love the lightened edge effect in the first along with the shallow depth of field.

  3. visuallens / May 31 2008 11:06 am

    Bo
    You take good photo of flowers. Nice to view big and colorful flowers. I must learn and find out the secret from you. Do visit my blog and give me some tips on taking better flower pictures.

  4. amelia / May 31 2008 1:20 pm

    I love the blue iris. I guess I have to go to Michigan or Wisconsin to get a view of one.

  5. Anna Surface / May 31 2008 2:23 pm

    Oh, I love the Dwarf Lake Iris! Gosh, those are gorgeous! Very, very nice capture, Bo.

    I’ve been out photographing wild strawberries. I haven’t posted any photos of them yet. Neat info… I didn’t know the Native Americans used the strawberry juice for eye remedies. 🙂

  6. bookbabie / May 31 2008 5:34 pm

    Great trio of wild flower shots!

  7. montucky / May 31 2008 8:43 pm

    That Iris is very beautiful! It’s interesting in that it is much different from the ones we have here, but the strawberry is nearly identical to one of our species.

  8. Gandalf / Jun 2 2008 1:20 pm

    Love the Iris. I wonder if you have some hidden sanctuary with all sorts of endangered flowers. You indeed have a talent for finding and shooting some very amazing specimens.

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