Wildflowers on the RailTrail

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Pine Haven and Chippewa Nature Center

30 April

We took a stroll through Pine Haven (main loop–green route) on Friday and through CNC (Sugarbush, River, Oxbow and WoodDuck trails) on Saturday.  Although the greater shade and cooler temperatures have some of the flowers a little behind the bloom on the Rail Trail, there is still plenty to see.

At both, the Bloodroot is pretty much finished as is most of the Hepatica, but the Spring Beauties are amazing and there is still plenty of Dutchmen’s Breeches to satisfy the need for blooms.  Both show the emerging Nodding Trillium and Cut Leaf Toothwort, so more white flowers.  Violets abound, from the Common Blue, Northern Blue and Marsh Blue to the Downy and Smooth Yellow to the lovely Canada White Violet, they are all showing off.

blueviolet   yellowviolet  whiteviolet

Trout lilies are appearing everywhere as are the Early Meadow Rue, Winter Cress, Spring Cress and Swamp Buttercups.  In the marshy areas, there are also Marsh Marigolds.


I have been on a quest to find Rue Anemone and hit the jackpot!  Leaves are up and starting to flower at Pine Haven and there are numerous sections with blooms at CNC.  It differs from its more prevalent cousin, Wood Anemone, by having waxier and smaller, daintier leaves and by holding the flower up higher, but having overall fewer flowers.


I also found Gold Thread at Pine Haven.  This small flower is not common and is easy to miss.  The distinctive leaves are the clue (it got its name from gold thread-like roots) since the flower resembles the anemones, hepatica and bloodroot.


Dewberries are blooming along with the wild Strawberries, the wild Blackberries are growing quickly and the Blueberries are already in bloom, along with the Currants. The Bellworts or Wild Oats are blooming along with the true Solomon’s Seal and the spreading, low blooming Wild Ginger.

Get out and enjoy the bounty we have in Midland County–and let me know if you spot one of these in a city or county park, so we can update the database with your information.  Just comment on the blog or the individual flower here on the website.  You can also contribute pictures.  Let me know what you would like to see or read about wildflowers in the county.

ALERT:  Lots of invasive are apparent everywhere.  Garlic mustard and Spotted Knapweed are in CNC and along the rail trail and beginning to appear in Pine Haven.  Autumn Olive, Barberry, non-native Honeysuckle, non-native Phragmites grass, and Buckthorn are taking over everywhere.  These will push out the native flowers and shrubs so take action when you see them–organize a weed pull, participate in the Little Forks Conservancy and CNC invasives pulls and work days.  Let the city and county know when you find them in parks.  Alert the hospital to the problems along the wellness trail.  If you have these on your property, remove them and dispose of them according to DNR guidelines.  For instance, never compost Garlic Mustard–It just roots from pieces and makes more Garlic Mustard.


One Response to “Pine Haven and Chippewa Nature Center”

  1. Nancy Stark Higgins May 1, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    The wildflowers in my garden are spreading around very nicely. Every day is an adventure as I look in different places and “there they are”! Unlike the creeping charlie and garlic mustard that I pull out, the spring wildflowers will stay wherever they please to grow.

    “A Happy Gardener has a Happy Life”

    Nancy Stark Higgins

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