Black eyed Susans, aka Rudbeckia , indicates that summer is well under way in the U.S. heartland, the prairie. Illinois is the “prairie state” yet less than 10% of virgin prairie lands remain. This piece of prairie is part of a restoration project, West Ridge Nature Preserve on Chicago’s north-east side. In Chicago one does not have to travel far to pretend they are a part of a time long ago; the stuff of good summertime daydreams.
Behind the black wire barrier, a volunteer pulls weeds, non-native species, from an area restricted to non-human entrants. This sectioned-off part of Lincoln Park is one of several “Migratory Bird Sanctuaries” in the park. The designated space has earthen trails around its perimeter providing a wilderness reprieve for the urban weary. The space is comparatively small, but time spent here is relevantly grand.
Now, back to nature. Here’s a couple of images of the “lions” that roam freely (and aggressively) in our lawns. The Dandelion (Taraxacum), as a flower, is pretty; take a close look.
I will let you, the viewer, observe the many design elements in these two natural and man-made compositions.
Trouble resides at the near-by stable. Imagine a wild, small game hunter who craves the warmth of human kindnesses. Her split personality shows its sweet side in human’s presence allowing her welcome access to each neighbor’s gardens. Since our beloved Tigger has passed, Trouble has added our garden to her expansive territory and into our hearts. Her choice spot is directly under our bird bath, so it is certain the birds don’t share our welcoming attitudes.
Whether your first encounter with this plant is physical or visual, “respect” will be your first impression. The early morning sun back-lights the flowers accenting the numerous pointed miniature spears. It has been aptly named Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium).
“Eryngium is Greek for “prickly plant” and yuccifolium is Greek for “yucca leaves” (from plants.usda.gov.), ) Does that mean it is Master over Rattlesnakes? The Native American Indians thought so; they used the roots medicinally to counteract Rattlesnake bites. I’m respectfully impressed.
For more images and information on Rattlesnake Master is my post 7/7/2012 “Native survivors”.
For the facts about Rattlesnake Master check out this site: http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_eryu.pdf
“Wild” versus “Lace”; these words bring completely different impressions to mind. Descriptors make a difference on one’s impression. Both words describe this non-native prairie plant, Queen Anne’s Lace (daucus carota), aka Wild Carrot. Both names fit this subject perfectly. The name you choose to call it depends on your perspective. Though it is an invasive Eurasian weed I find it hard not to appreciate the delicate floral arrangement on each stem. Even the seed head is amazingly intricate and delicate in design.
So if I creeped you out too much with the last post, enjoy some of nature’s beauty.