Chicago Nature Now! Alert
May 31, 2018
“Plant the best Chicago outdoor getaways and nature walks with Chicago nature news and info that helps you discover the region’s finest natural wonders.”
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This week’s highlights to help you plan a Chicago outdoor adventure or nature walk this weekend:
The event of the week is taking place in the black oak savannas of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, specifically at Miller Woods, Tolleston Dunes, and West Beach, where breathtaking displays of blue wild lupine interspersed with yellow hairy puccoon and it’s slightly more golden brother, hoary puccoon. (See my picture of the gorgeous savanna landscape (below) from Monday, Mary 28, along with an image of a mother deer and her fawn.) These oak savannas, and others, will continue to flower with various species into September because of their open, light-sharing canopies. However, the woodlands have dense canopies that only allow light to reach the ground through mid-May. This means that they have now reached the end of their floral displays. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go for a walk in the woods during the summer months. Just, don’t expect to see many flowers. Instead, head to the oak savannas and, of course, the prairies.
Speaking of oak savannas, Illinois Beach Nature Preserve is also offering wild lupine, yellow hairy puccoon, hoary puccoon, and downy phlox. And our northern-most prairie, Chiwaukee Prairie, is a dream with its breathtaking display of white and pink shooting star! Alongside the shooting star, you’ll find the flavescent blooms of hoary puccoon, golden Alexander, wood betony, and yellow star grass. And Ohio spiderwort is blooming big at Fermilab Prairie . But, the flowers melt in the heat of day. So, you need to get there before noon or earlier to experience the flowers. See my story about spiderwort.
WHERE TO GO THIS WEEKEND FOR A CHICAGO OUTDOOR GETAWAY OR NATURE WALK:
Miller Woods is possibly putting on the event of the week with its gorgeous display of wild lupine mixed in with great amounts hoary puccoon and hairy puccoon. While you’re there, make your way to see wonderful plants to Tolleston Dunes and West Beach. If you weren’t already convinced that Chicago offers national-park quality blooming events, this one that will forever change your mind.
Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion is putting on a nice show of wild lupine, hairy puccoon, hoary puccoon, and downy phlox. And, in about a week, the sand prairie should be overflowing with sand coreopsis.
Chiwaukee Prairie in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin offers finest display of shooting stars in the region, though not as prolific as other years. Alongside the shooting stars, look for birdfoot violet, hoary puccoon, wood betony, yellow star grass , and wild lupine along the edges. While you’re visiting this preserve, it’s worth a trip to Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion, which is getting ready to explode with wild lupine.
Fermilab Prairie in Batavia has been fully burned, leaving the ground free of last year’s growth and now you can really see the flowers. Right now, come to see a wonderful blue display of Ohio spiderwort as it combines with incoming white wild indigo and the big leaves of prairie dock and compass plant.
Pembroke Savanna in Hopkins Park (near Kankakee) went UNSCOUTED. Please visit, and let us know what’s going on.
Wild Lupine (and other surprises) in Our Black Oak Savannas (Sand Savannas)
Somme Prairie Grove
Shooting Stars at Chiwaukee Prairie
The Wonderfully Large Leaves of Compass Plant & Prairie Dock
Common Blue-eyed Grass
* Photo is representational and was not recorded this year. Bloom times vary from year to year.
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© 2018, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.