Dame’s Rocket

dame's rocket flower invasiveHesperis matrinolis

Dame’s Rocket is about everywhere, along the edge of the woods and roads especially, but it is not native to Wisconsin. Some may mistake this four-petal flower for Phlox, but the latter has five petals of a different shape than Dame’s Rocket’s. According to conditions, some flowers may be white.

Appears spring, summer

Highly invasive

Dame's Rocket (highly invasive)

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Wild Blue Phlox

wild-blue-phloxPhlox divaricata

Depending on the soil, the light, or your camera’s sensor, Phlox may look blue or purple. Some may confuse it with the invasive and abundant Dame’s Rocket, but this one has five petals shaped almost like a narrow spade to the flower’s center.

Appears: spring, summer

Native to Wisconsin

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Dwarf Lake Iris

Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris)Appears: Spring

Native to Wisconsin

Found in sandy soil over limestone bedrock with decent sunlight. It is an endangered plant and only grows in the Great Lakes region, and that even sparingly. One reliable place to see a Dwarf Lake Iris in Wisconsin is at The Ridges Sanctuary in Door County in Baileys Harbor. The tiny flower is about 1.5 inches in diameter and it skirts the line between purple and blue.

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Appears: summer

Not native to Wisconsin

Does well in dry rugged areas and appears abundantly along roadsides and highway medians

Chicory can be cultivated for its root which, when dried and pulverized, can be added to coffee or even used to brew a sort of “poor man’s coffee.” Chicory coffee is popular in the southern state of the USA, and is especially favored in New Orleans.

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Sagittaria latifolia

Appears: Summer and fall, perennial

Native to Wisconsin

About 1-2 feet tall

Find it along riverbanks and lakes or even right in the water. We’ve seen it rising up in shallow marsh water among lily pads as well. The large arrowhead shaped leaves are easily recognized even if the flowers are yet to bloom.

Photo taken by Preamtip Satasuk on a canoe trip on the La Crosse River with a Canon PowerShot S100 12.1 MP Digital Camera
with an underwater housing (just to be safe).

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Yellow Flag Iris


Appears: Spring and summer, perennial

Non-native to Wisconsin

About 2-3 feet tall

This flower likes to be by the water. It is a European transplant that managed to get out of someone’s garden one day and now can be found along swampy areas, lakes, and rivers here in Wisconsin.

Photo taken on the Lower Wolf River from a canoe with a Canon PowerShot S100 12.1 MP Digital Camera
with an underwater housing (just to be safe).

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Indian Lake County Park

Indian Lake is good from spring through fall for wildflowers and offers a good variety. There is a nice meadow with walking trails throughout plus an abundance of wooded trails. The soggy area around the lake offers yet another variety of flowers and cattails accessible by hiking trails.

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Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Appears: Summer, perennial

Native to Wisconsin

Up to 4 feet tall

Likes sun and as the name indicates, wet areas. The flowers cluster at top and have a set of petals bending up and another bending down. The stem up to the clusters sometimes turns red also.

Photo taken at Turtle-Flambeau Flowage from a kayak.

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White Campion

Season: Summer

Not native to Wisconsin

Find it in generally dry places, fields, roadsides and the like.

Male and female flowers are on different plants. These are harder to pick out during the day because the flower tucks into the tube at its base (which gives its other name, Bladder Campion). The flower comes out then at night to attract insects. The whole plant stands about 1-3 feet high, and the flower itself is maybe an inch across.

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Indian Pipe

Appears: Summer

Native to Wisconsin

Likes dry woods in the shade

Can reach up to about 10″ and is usually found in clumps

This is a really unusual plant as it has no chlorophyll. It might be as thick as your finger like a tube and the single flower, which you have to see close up because it is also white, sort of dangles over at the top like someone nodding their head. When the plant pollinates that will straighten up. It gets its food from a fungus that lives with it which breaks down other plant matter so it can be absorbed by both.

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