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This is the first of a number of Field Museum leaf- 
lets describing some of the more interesting wild flowers 
of the Chicago region. The second leaflet in this series 
describes the wild flowers of late spring and early 


No. L Figs $ .10 

No. 2. The Coco Palm 10 

No. 3. Wheat 10 

No. 4. Cacao 10 

No. 5. A Fossil Flower 10 

No. 6. The Cannon Ball Tree (in preparation) ... .10 

No. 7. Spring Wild Flowers 25 

No. 8. Spring and Early Summer Wild Flowers . . .25 

No. 9. Summer Wild Flowers 25 

No. 10. Autumn Flowers and Fruits 25 





Field Museum of Natural History 

Chicago. 1924 

Leaflet Number 7 



Preaches today, 
Under the green trees 

Just over the way, 
Squirrel and song-sparrow, 

High on their perch. 
Hear the sweet lily-bells 

Ringing to church. 

Come, hear what his reverence 

Rises to say, 
In his low painted pulpit, 

This calm Sabbath day. 

— John Greenleaf Whittier. 


My flock is dwindling. Every spring my parish- 
ioners become fewer. 

We appear with the birds and the squirrels to re- 
joice at the going away of the frost and don our best 
garments to celebrate the coming of spring. The hu- 
mans come here to watch but not satisfied with that, 
carry many of us away. Unfortunately, even those 
kind folk who love us best and have no wish to see us 
disappear, do not always realize that busy plants have 
their work which must be attended to. 

Year by year we have moved farther away hoping 
to be left in peace, but we cannot move very fast. Un- 
less we are allowed to rear and nurture our seeds there 
will be no Easter service in our woods next year. 

Let us pray that some of us may be spared. 

J. M. D. 

Field Museum of Natural History 


Spring Wild Flowers 


(AHsaema triphyllum) 

There is no mistaking this famous "minister of 
the woods." The green, more or less purple-veined 
hood-like structure may be compared to a pulpit with 
its somewhat turned over tip for a canopy. There are 
usually two three-parted and prominently veined 
leaves which often overtop the pulpit. 

Jack is also called Indian Turnip because of the 
root which the Indians used to some extent for food 
after removing the extremely acrid juice by cooking. 
In the raw state the root burns the mouth most dis- 

The Skunk Cabbage, notorious because of its un- 
pleasant odor, is related to Jack-in-the-Pulpit. It has 
a similar "hood" or leaf-like structure that pushes 
itself, in very early spring, only a short distance above 
the boggy ground in which it grows. The foetid odor 
attracts various insects which often are found en- 
trapped at the base of the "hood." Jack-in-the-Pulpit 
can easily be cultivated in moist shady places. Both 
Jack and the Skunk Cabbage are relatives of the Calla 
Lily. (Arum Family) 


Field Museum op Natural History 


(Erythronium species^ 

The Dog's Tooth Violet may be recognized easily 
by its two smooth and shining flat leaves from between 
which rises the flower stalk that ordinarily supports 
only one blossom. The showy pinkish-white or yellow 
flower is more or less drooping but its six parts are 
spreading or curved backward. 

This is a plant of moist woods and thickets which 
may be established successfully in a partially shaded 
garden by careful transfer of the deeply set bulbs. 
(Lily Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 


(Maianthemum canadense) 

The Two-leaved Solomon's Seal, as this plant is 
more correctly called, is a low herb of moist woods 
and thickets. Its two (1-3) broad but pointed leaves 
partly encircle the often zigzag stem with their heart- 
shaped bases; its small white flowers form a rather 
dense terminal cluster or raceme about two inches 
long, projecting a short distance above the leaves. The 
blossoms neither droop nor have the fragrance of the 
garden Lily of the Valley. 

The related False Solomon's Seal is a much larger 
plant with many leaves. (Lily Family) 


Field Museum of Natural History 


(Trillium species^ 

The odd manner in which the three roundish 
leaves of this plant are borne together at the top of 
the low stout stem serves to identify it readily. The 
large solitary flower grows just above the foliage; in 
the white Trillium (pink in age) it is on a slender 
stalk; in the other species the blossom is purple and 
grows directly with the leaves. 

Wake Robins are flowers of woods and thickets 
and, notwithstanding their name, bloom rather late. 
The deeply set bulb-like roots may be successfully re- 
moved to moist rich soils in the garden for blossoming 
the next year especially if this transplanting is done 
in July or August. By then the plant has replenished 
its reserve food-supply in the root. (Lily Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 

Courtesy Frank M. Woodruff, Curator, The Chicago Academy of Sciences. 

(Arethusa bulbosa) 

The low, slender and apparently leafless stem of 
this orchid supports a large, solitary, gaping, rose- 
purple flower. The upper parts of the blossom arch 
over the broad lower white lip which is more or less 
marked with purplish blotches. After the flower opens, 
one narrow leaf appears at the side of the stem. 

The Arethusa grows in bogs or low meadows and 
thickets. It is sometimes possible to cultivate it in 
shady rockeries. (Orchid Family) 


Field Museum of Natural History 



Spring Wild Flowers 

(Cypripedium species^ 

The most prominent feature of these showy 
flowers of late spring is the inflated slipper-like part 
of the blossom. It is to this that the common names 
refer. There are several species. 

The Yellow Moccasin Flower has three slender 
upper parts which are usually twisted. They are 
greenish-yellow, dotted and streaked with purple. 
This species is frequently found in rich woods. 

Another sort of Cypripedium is the Showy Mocca- 
sin Flower which grows in swamps or wet mossy 
woods. It is quite distinct in shape and color, the 
"slipper" being white and crimson striped; the other 
parts white and broad and short. 

There is also the Stemless Moccasin Flower of 
swamp borders or dryish woods. The stalk that bears 
the solitary drooping blossom has no leaves. The 
"slipper" of this fragrant flower is crimson-pink or 
I rarely white ; the other three parts are a dull greenish- 

purple color. (Orchid Family) 

"Ten thousand may look at a Lady's Slipper", — 
how many may pick it? 



Field Museum op Natural History 

(Asarum canadense) 

It is the foliage of this plant as it occurs in patches 
in rich woods that is admired rather than the rela- 
tively inconspicuous flowers. The large, softly hairy, 
kidney-shaped leaves arise in pairs from creeping 
roots that have a ginger flavor. 

Near the ground, at the base of each pair of 
leaves, is a solitary blossom. This is bell-shaped and 
consists of three parts more or less sharply pointed and 
chocolate-brown or purplish within. (Birthroot Fam.) 


Spring Wild Flowers 



(Claytonia virginica) 

The plants of the Spring Beauty are inclined to 
grow together in groups, so as to form "carpets" in 
meadows or open moist woods. They are slender suc- 
culent herbs, 6-12 inches high, and are usually un- 
branched. The stems rise from a small deeply set 
tuber (bulb) and at about their middle bear two rather 
narrow opposite leaves. 

The flowers, which may number as many as fif- 
teen, are borne in an open, gradually lengthening, 
cluster and are white or pink with darker pink veins. 
(Purslane Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 

(Anemonella thalictroides) 

The slender 4-10 inch high stem of the Rue 
Anemone arises from a cluster of thickened roots and 
bears at its summit, in a loose arrangement, the white 
flowers, which are i^-l inch broad. Just beneath the 
flowers there are several more or less egg-shaped little 
leaves which are borne on weak stalks. 

This dainty perennial is a native of woods. It is 
cultivated to some extent, forming "carpets of great 
beauty" when the plants are left undisturbed for a 
period of years. 

The Wood Anemone is a related wild flower that 
resembles this plant but its blossoms are solitary and 
the leaves of the stem are 3-5 parted. (Crowfoot 

[ 12 ] 

Spring Wild Flowers 


(Hepatica triloba) 

A low stemless perennial of the woodlands, the 
Hepatica shares with the Mayflower the honors for 
earliest flowering. Its leathery heart-shaped leaves 
with three roundish lobes lie flat on the ground and re- 
main green during the winter. The new leaves, that 
are to serve the plant for another year, appear later 
than the flowers, which are borne singly on slender 
silky-hairy stalks, 2-5 inches long. The flowers, which 
are about V2 inch across, vary in color from white or 
pinkish to pale blue or deep violet. They droop and 
close at night. 

The Hepatica is cultivated successfully when it is 
left undisturbed from year to year in rich, well-drained 
loam and mulched only with well-rotted leaf-mold. 
(Crowfoot Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 

(Caltha palustris) 

The flowers of the Marsh Marigold form brilliant 
patches of yellow color in sunny swamps or wet 
meadows. It is a rather low, very smooth plant with 
hollow stems and round or kidney-shaped leaves. The 
blossoms, which are like immense buttercups, are an 
inch or more broad. Sometimes this plant is incor- 
rectly called "Cowslips," especially when gathered be- 
fore flowering for a pot-herb. 

The Buttercup, of which there are several kinds, 
is a relative of the Marsh Marigold, but the yellow 
blossoms are much smaller. (Crowfoot Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 



(Aquilegia canadensis) 

Our red and yellow Columbine, sometimes wrongly 
called "Honeysuckle," has the same five peculiar spurs 
that distinguish the well-known, variously colored gar- 
den Columbine which is a native of Europe. Colorado 
has designated her wild blue and white species as the 
state flower. 

The blossoms are inverted so that the spurs point 
upward. The nectar secreted in their tips is thereby 
protected from the rain. Often a bumble bee may be 
seen crowding his way into the opening of the spur 
to obtain the nectar by reaching it with his long 
tongue; or humming birds may be observed inserting 
their beaks for the same purpose. 

The Columbine flowers should be picked with re- 
straint. As the plant often grows in shallow soils on 
wooded rock-outcrops, where it is readily uprooted, 
its perpetuation is dependent upon its maturing seeds. 
(Crowfoot Family) 


16 Field Museum of Natural History 


(Dicentra Cucullaria) 

The name of this delicate plant of rich woods was 
suggested by the odd shape of its flowers. The two 
divergent and slightly inflated spurs of the drooping 
yellow-tipped blossoms are white and point upward. 
The "breeches," therefore, are inverted. 

The few to several flowers are arranged in a row 
along the upper part of the slender stem which rises 
only a few inches above the leaves. These are finely 
divided into many parts and are closely clustered about 
the bases of the flower-stalks. 

The root of the Dutchman's Breeches consists of 
a scaly bulb or a number of grain-like bulbs. If their 
natural woodland habitat is reproduced as regards 
shade and soil they will grow and blossom from year 
to year in cultivation. The admired Bleeding Heart of 
gardens is a relative of our wild plant. (Fumitory 


Spring Wild Flowers 




Field Museum of Natural History 


(Podophyllum peltatum) 

This plant has two kinds of stems ; one is flower- 
less and bears at its summit a round, 7-9-lobed or 
-parted leaf, so that it suggests an umbrella ; the other 
stem usually has two one-sided and parted leaves from 
the fork of which is borne the solitary white flower. 
The drooping blossom is about 2 inches broad. The 
umbrella-like leaves, which may measure a foot in 
diameter, are more conspicuous, however, than the 

The May Apple usually grows in wet rich woods 
in patches of considerable extent. The large fleshy 
fruit ripens in July and children enjoy its sweet but 
slightly acid flavor that many older folk consider dis- 
agreeable. (Barberry Family) 


-i a; 

Spring Wild Flowers 



(Sanguinaria canadensis) 

It is easy to recognize the common Bloodroot, one 
of the earliest flowers in open rich woods. The bud, 
as it rises from the ground is enfolded by the single 
pale-green young leaf. As the large white flower ex- 
pands and opens the lobed leaf may still partially en- 
close the stalk. 

The plants have prostrate or creeping roots that 
exude, when broken, a milky orange-red juice, — whence 
the common name. This sap has been used as a dye, 
especially by the Indians, who employed it also as a 
body-paint. (Poppy Family) 



Field Museum op Natural History 


(Dentaria species^ 

This low perennial herb of moist woods may be 
known by its rather compact often drooping cluster of 
small white or pink flowers borne a short distance 
above the stem leaves. 

There are several kinds of Pepper-roots. The Cut- 
leaved sort has three stem-leaves which are divided 
into five parts, usually strongly toothed along the edges. 
The creeping roots of this species bear bulb-like thick- 
enings at intervals. The leaves of the Two-leaved kind 
have only three parts and the slender roots are without 
tuberous swellings. The latter are crisp and suggest 
in taste the related Water Cress. (Mustard Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 


(Cardamine Douglasii) 

This Cress of rich low woods has a slender up- 
right leafy stem bearing at its summit several rather 
showy and crowded rose-purple or white flowers. The 
leaves are usually egg-shaped and are placed at more 
or less irregular intervals along the stalk which varies 
from six inches to a foot high or more. 

Sometimes this plant is called Cuckoo Flower. 
This name is more properly applied to another kind of 
Cress similar to the Bitter Cress but with leaves 
divided into several very slender parts. The Cuckoo 
Flower grows in wet places or bogs. (Mustard Fam- 



Field Museum of Natural History 

(Amelanchier canadensis) 

This shrub or small tree of more or less open and 
usually dry lands is covered before the leaves are 
grown, with drooping racemes (i.e., sort of elongated 
clusters) of white somewhat pink-edged flowers. The 
long (I/2-I ii^-) narrow petals readily distinguish the 
June, or Service Berry as it is also known, from other 
flowering shrubs. Usually its red-black or purplish 
fruits are ripe by June. It is said that pemmican of 
the Indians was made of dried powdered buffalo or 
deer meat mixed with the similarly prepared June- 
or blue-berries. The mixture was stirred into boiling 
fat and upon cooling was moulded into cakes, 

June Berry wood, known as "lance wood," is very 
hard and is used considerably for tool and umbrella 
handles. (Rose Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 


(Geranium maculatum) 

The wild Geranium is a rather frequent perennial 
in more or less open woods or fields. Its five pink-lav- 
ender petals are V2-% ii^ch long; its leaves usually 
have five wedge-shaped divisions that are more or less 
cut or lobed at their ends. The beak-like seed-pods, 
which resemble those of the cultivated Geranium, per- 
haps suggested one of its names. When the pods are 
dry they spring open with such force that the ripe 
seeds are thrown some distance. 

According to an Arab legend the Geranium orig- 
inally was a Mallow. Then once upon a time Moham- 
med, after washing his shirt, laid it upon the Mallow 
to dry. The plant felt this distinction so deeply that 
it blushed and turned into a Geranium! (Geranium 



Field Museum of Natural History 



(Viola species^ 

It is interesting to see how many kinds of violets 
can be found and named during a season. There are 
many species that ordinarily escape notice. 


Spring Wild Flowers 



Probably the most common in early spring are 
the Blue Marsh Violet, the Blue Wooly Violet and a 
Yellow Violet. The first, as its name indicates, grows 
in wet places. It is smooth and its leaves are finely 
scalloped along the edges. The Wooly Violet also has 
blue flowers but the leaves are covered on the under 
surface with fine hairs. The yellow-flowered kind 
grows in dry rich woods and is a stemmed violet ; that 
is, some of the leaves and flowers are borne on a stem 
instead of directly at the ground as in most violets. 

The violet is the state flower of Illinois, also Wis- 
consin and Rhode Island. (Violet Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 


(Epigaea repens) 

This is a small woody plant that is found trail- 
ing and often half-concealed among drifted dead leaves 
on sandy or rocky slopes. Usually it is most plentiful 
at the edge of woods. Its name has become well- 
known by repeated reference in literature to the very 
early appearance and charm of the spicily fragrant 
and pink-tinted flowers. These are in clusters at the 
base of each evergreen leaf. 

The popularity of the Trailing Arbutus has re- 
sulted in its practical extinction near many large cit- 
ies. The gathering of the wild plants for sale is 
entirely unnecessary since they can be cultivated by 
florists. (Heath Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 



(Dodecatheon Meadi) 

The Shooting Star, or American Cowslip, as it 
is sometimes called, is a smooth perennial herb con- 
sisting of a basal tuft of rather narrow leaves, and 
a single leafless stalk at the top of which is a cluster 
of showy pink-purple or white flowers. The individual 
blossoms on slender stems have five recurved parts and 
the stamens are joined into a cone-like tip which gives 
the flowers a distinctly pointed appearance. The 
name. Shooting Star, therefore, is apt. The flower- 
form suggests a diminutive Cyclamen, the well-known 
hot-house pot-plant to which, indeed, our plant is re- 
lated. (Primrose Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 

Courtesy Frank M. Woodruff, Curator, The Chicago Academy of Sciences. 


(Menyanthes trifoliata) 

A shallow shore or bog is the home of this peren- 
nial herb, which has pinkish, shaggy flowers and large 
clover-like leaves. The three leaflets are longer in 
proportion to their width than those of the clover. 

The flower-stalk rises well above the foliage and 
toward its summit produces the several white or red- 
dish flowers in a rather loose cluster. 

The leaves of this plant are said to be used in 
Germany as a substitute for hops in beer-making. Its 
distribution is world-wide in temperate regions. 
(Gentian Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 


(Phlox divaricata) 

Nearly everyone knows the hardy perennial 
Phlox used by the gardener for handsome borders in 
the late summer or fall. The wild blue Phlox that in 
the spring forms colorful patches in our moist rocky 
woods and elsewhere is related to these garden 
phloxes and has much the same sort of flower. This 
is a very slender tube with five spreading lobes at the 
opening. The color is bluish or a pale lilac. 

The plant may be further identified by its lance- 
shaped leaves, borne in pairs, that is, one placed oppo- 
site another on the laxly growing (rarely erect) stems. 

The Ground or Moss Pink is another sort of Phlox 
that forms mats of considerable extent in sandy fields. 
Its numerous flowers are pink or purplish with a 
darker eye. (Phlox Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 


(Polemonium reptans) 

Often the name "Blue-bell" is given to this weak- 
stemmed and spreading perennial of open woods be- 
cause of the drooping and bell-shaped blue flowers. 

The Greek Valerian is a leafy plant, usually about 
a foot high, but sprawling in its habit of growth. The 
small parts of the much-divided leaves are arranged 
in rows along a common stalk so that the leaf-form 
is suggestive of a ladder. Indeed, a related garden 
plant is called Jacob's Ladder because of the similar 
arrangement of its leaves. A number of other kinds 
of Polemoniums are cultivated. (Phlox Family) 


Spring Wild Flowers 


Courtesy FVank M. Woodruff, Curator, The Chicago Academy of Sciences, 


(Mertensia virginica) 

This rather tall (1-2 ft.) very smooth plant with 
pale green leaves and porcelain-blue flowers usually 
grows in river- woodlands where it sometimes occurs 
in patches of considerable extent. The more or less 
drooping flowers, borne near the tops of the stems, 
are slender tubes, flaring cup-like at the open end. 
Before they are fully open they are more or less pink- 

The Forget-me-not is a relative of this plant. 
(Borage Family) 


32 Field Museum of Natural History 

This is the first of a number of Field Museum 
leaflets dealing in a simple manner with some common 
or conspicuous flowers of the Chicago region. With a 
single exception woody plants have not been included. 

J. Francis Macbride. 

The photographs, unless otherwise credited, are by L. W. 
Brownell with the exception of Phlox and Polemonium by C. F. 
Millspaugh, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Trillium by J. R, Millar, Den- 
taria and Dog's Tooth Violet by H. H. Smith. 


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