Blue Bead Lily Then, Blue Bead Lily Now

Two months ago I wrote a post about Almon Park, a county park in the area, and I included this photo of a wildflower called blue bead lily, Clintonia borealis.

Today I went back to get a photo of what the blue bead lily looks like now. Suddenly you can see where the name comes from.

Actually it took me a little bit to find “blue bead” berries to photograph – at first all I could find were stalks with the berries removed. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that something eats them, since the whole reason plants make pretty blue and red fruits is to attract critters to disperse their seeds. Birds, maybe?

One more photo – I love the sign at the trailhead in Almon Park. It’s not just a nature trail, it’s a nature study area. Be studious, folks.

Orchid-licious!

Trivia question of the day: which state has more native orchid species, Wisconsin or Hawaii? The answer is at the end of this post.

Yesterday after work we went to explore a natural area I hadn’t been to before – Almon Park Trail, on Buck Lake. One section of the trail is a boardwalk through a really lovely bog. With the leatherleaf in bloom, its clusters of white flowers everywhere, it looked like a fairyland.

But the absolute best part was this:

I had never seen a lady’s-slipper before. Last summer I got here too late in the season to see them in bloom, and I’d been looking forward to them all winter. When one in full flower greeted us as soon as we stepped onto the boardwalk, I literally jumped up and down a couple times. Specifically, this beautiful beautiful orchid is Pink Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium acaule. There were a LOT of them along the entire length of the boardwalk.

And one more wildflower before I let you go – this is Blue Bead Lily, Clintonia borealis.

Come August I’ll have to do a then-and-now post with photos of this one and bunchberry in fruit compared to flowering. Then you’ll see why it’s called Blue Bead Lily!

Answer: Wisconsin. (You figured out that this must be a trick question, right?) Hawaii has three native orchids. Wisconsin has around forty-five!