Late last summer, I visited a site near Lowell in Lake County, Indiana and unexpectedly stumbled into a dry-mesic prairie opening with good diversity and unique species including Asclepias viridiflora, Aster laevis, Ceanothus americanus, Eryngium yuccifolium, Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii, and Petalostemum purpureum. I had a chance to get back to the site a few weeks ago.
|Dry-mesic Prairie Remnant with an abundance of Silphium terebinthinaceum|
Parthenium integrifolium was also beginning to bloom when I was at the prairie this summer and should continue to bloom into mid-September. This composite grows in prairies, savannas, and glades and doesn't tolerate site degradation. It has been used to make a tea to treat fevers (hence one of its common names, American Feverfew), and was also used to treat malaria. A similar species, Parthenium hispidum, is known from the central United States. It has stems with noticable speading hairs, upper leaves that are auriculate-clasping with spreading hairs on the veins beneath, and larger flower heads. Parthenium integrifolium has stems that are glabrous to minutely pubescent, upper leaves that are sessile but not clasping with mostly appressed hairs on the veins beneath, and smaller flower heads. Flora of North America treats these both as Parthenium integrifolium, not even warranting varietal status to Parthenium hispidum. Having seen both, this surprises me.
Prairies reach their full glory late in the season, but there is plenty to see early in the summer as well.