Wildflowers of the Whitefish Chain

The Whitefish Chain Area is in full bloom as wildflowers have come into season, lining the edges of roads, trails and lake shores. Wondering what they are?  Below we have info on a few of the most prevalent, and beautiful, flowers on the chain.

Big thanks to www.minnesotawildflowers.info, which helped provide a lot of information for this post! Go to them if you're looking to identify a flower not listed here.

Yarrow: This cluster of flowers, usually white, grows on a sagey-green stem. Sometimes the flowers are slightly pinkish, though usually these are cultivated varieties from local gardeners. The leaves on yarrow are fern-like and soft. Yarrow looks a lot like water hemlock, which is larger, grows in wetter areas and is a poisonous plant.

Harebell: This beautiful bluish-purple flower is hardy enough to grow in even the barest of soil in the cracks of rocks, bringing a bright bit of color to its surroundings. The delicate bell-shaped flower hangs off a long, delicate, thin stem. Looking a lot like a fairy hat, harebells bloom all season long.


White Campion: White campion grows just about everywhere, and is identifiable by the bulb that grows just behind a five-petaled white flower.


Bird's Food Trefoil: The Minnesota DNR says that this plant with small, yellow flowers is an invasive species. The flowers resemble those of pea blossoms in shape, and grow over a plant that looks a lot like clover. You'll find the plant growing in patches where its yellow flowers form blotches in the green ditches. Its dense mats can choke out other native plants. The DNR says it was introduced to the US and Canada as a livestock forage and for erosion control, and is still sold commercially.

Red Columbine: Columbine flowers have a fascinating shape, with five spires that point upward as the flower hangs, bell-like, from a thin stalk. Though the outside of the flower is red, the inside petals are yellow and are almost formed into tiny rings inside the flower. The flowers are an inch or two long, and the spires are filled with nectar that attracts insects and hummingbirds.

Showy Lady's Slipper: Our list would be incomplete without Minnesota's state flower, the showy lady's slipper. This wild orchid is a beautiful flower, mostly white with a pink-streaked "slipper." The DNR says that this plant can grow to be up to 100 years old. It's not a common flower, and the sight of it is certainly special- the flower is stunning. It's illegal to pick or uproot this plant. It's rare, so leave it in place so that others can see it as well. You're most likely to find this plant in bogs, swamps, wet prairies and meadows, in shaded areas.

Both the Minnesota DNR and www.minnesotawildflowers.info have more information on local wildflowers, and are great resources to lean more about what's blooming. This list is just a starter!

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