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June 1, 2008 / Bo Mackison

More Door County Wildflowers

Three more wildflowers that I photographed last weekend in Door County.


This little wildflower is Gaywings, also called Fringed Polygala, and it looks to me like a miniature airplane, grounded after a thunderstorm. It closely resembles an orchid, but is a member of the milkwort family. Folklore has it that if a tea made from the plant was consumed by nursing mothers or the plant was fed to cows, it would increase milk production. Found in northeast to north-central US and eastern Canada, it blooms in May and June.

Small-Flowered Crowfoot

The Small-Flowered Crowfoot is a buttercup, but doesn’t much look like one except that it has many separate stamens and pistils. It is poisonous, though some Native American tribes pulverized the root and soaked it in water to make an antiseptic to cleanse wounds. The greenish flower is less than an inch in diameter and grows near the ground, so it is easy to miss. It blooms May through early June.

Marsh Marigold

The Marsh Marigold is one of only a few wildflowers that can grow in the middle of a stream. It has been known to grow so profusely as to give the water a yellowish glow. It was used medicinally to cure colds, anemia and convulsions, though the plant contains toxic glycosides which are only made harmless upon cooking. The flower blossoms make a sweet wine and they can also be used as a yellow dye. It blooms from late April through June.

Every Sunday is Green Thumb Sunday. Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers participate each Sunday; visit Green Thumb Sunday for more information.


  1. Hootin' Anni / Jun 1 2008 6:24 am


    My Green Thumb is posted, won’t you join me? Hope your weekend is great so far.

  2. photographybykml / Jun 1 2008 9:22 am

    Love the color on the purple one – beautiful!

  3. montucky / Jun 1 2008 10:07 am

    Great photos! I love to see some of the plants that don’t grow in my area. Love the Gaywings!

  4. gypsy-heart / Jun 1 2008 2:02 pm

    Beautiful photos Bo.

    They are glorious…each one of them! The crowfoot is mysterious..and I love the medicinal story. If we only knew I think every plant has a

    Thanks for sharing your world with us!

  5. Aiyana / Jun 1 2008 3:14 pm

    Beautiful photos as usual. I especially like the buttercup. Happy GTS,

  6. sara / Jun 1 2008 7:18 pm

    The first one does look like a plane! Great photo’s. The colors are wonderful.

  7. aullori / Jun 1 2008 11:19 pm

    Beautiful shots, you must sigh by now and be tired of hearing that from me! I love that gaywings shot – not only is a beautiful rendition but also what a unique flower. I never do grow tired of mother nature. I wonder (offhandedly) why this one as pretty as it is was never transferred to the garden it certainly would be a fabulous means of starting a conversation. I also loved the focal point on your Crowfoot – that is my constant struggle which you seem to naturally get. Really beautiful! You took what could have been a “boring” flower and made it fascinating. (I’m just going to have to study your focal points more I think…..) And the marsh marigold (again like all of these a completely new flower for me) is really beautiful. Once again a job well done!

  8. Gandalf / Jun 2 2008 1:15 pm

    I have never seen nor heard of the gaywings before. Beautiful shots of all the flowers. I love seeing the variety.

  9. Dianne Murphy-Rodgers / Jun 7 2008 11:00 am

    Bo, your blog is wonderful!

    Called over having fallen in love with a couple of your photostream images on flickr this morning.

    This post is lovely, thank you! Not only for more exquisite images, but also for the interesting folklore and medicinal tradition.

    I love the little gaywings flower and what a fab name! Your picture does look just like a miniature airplane and the raindrops are gorgeous, I love it!


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