Ruth WalkerComment

The Thrill of Identifying Plants

Ruth WalkerComment
The Thrill of Identifying Plants

My good friend Lisa came over today to dig some wild strawberries and she brought along a couple plants she wanted a second opinion on identifying. So we hit the books and came up with an identification for two of the three plants she brought over — all of which are springing up in her garden this year.

The first one was easy — forget-me-knot. It’s such a pretty blue but so invasive that Lisa will be pulling it out by the handful. (I satisfy my springtime urge for tiny blue flowers with my Jack Frost Brunnera.)

The second one was a bit of a mystery but the book we were using divides flowers by color. That helped us narrow down the possibilities. After searching through the section on pink flowers we found Herb Robert and our second search was successful.

We’re still searching for an identifier on the third flower, a six-petal white flower with chive like leaves and bulbous roots. More on that when we ID it.

The book we used is one of the oldest gardening books in my library, written by Harry C. Lund, who with his wife, Eloise hiked bogs, woodlands, meadows, and sand dunes throughout Michigan. Their passion for locating and photographing wildflowers comes through in this book. I so appreciate that Lund provides important information on wildflower identification and is careful to identify those flowers that are protected (A PROTECTED MICHIGAN WILDFLOWER — DO NOT DISTURB), a threatened species (A THREATENED SPECIES DO NOT DISTURB) or marks those without legal status but considered threatened species (PLEASE DO NOT PICK.)

Both the Lunds are gone now but this book lives on as a testament to their dedication to Michigan wildflowers and their desire to encourage people to protect them as a natural resource. I love this book because the author is so passionate about wildflowers. I spent many hours in our woods as a child with a mother who was also a wildflower fanatic so tramping the woods is like a second home. I also like the way the Lunds arranged this book, making it easier to identify the many species (207 in my edition) that grow in our beautiful fields, woods and on the shoreline.

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