Wild Rice

blooming wild rice

Wild Rice blooming

Wild Rice at Crane Lake is easy to come by. The Vermilion River is where people go to harvest this organic grain.

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/canoe_routes/vermilion.pdf

 

The Vermilion River is a designated “wild river”. There are campsites along the river and a few portages around rapids and waterfalls. No permits are needed to travel this 30 mile section of river that connects Crane Lake to Lake Vermilion. All you need is a canoe.

 

blooming wild rice

Wild Rice in bloom

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Mallards

Mallards in the morning light.

Mallards in the morning light.

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Favorite Wildflower

pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

My #1 all time favorite wildflower: Pip – sis – sue – wah.

pipsisewa

Pipsissewa

pipssewa

pips in hand

This small wildflower is another evergreen plant of the forest floor. The leaves are leathery and do not fall of the plant in the winter. If you dug down through the snow in the winter, you would find the green leaves of this plant.

pipsisewa

close up image of Pipsissewa

pipsissewa2

buds of the Pipsissewa wildflower

buds of the Pipsissewa wildflower

The above photo shows old dried up flower seed pods from last year, and new flowerbuds formed this year.

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neat little article about VNP

 

Everybody’s Cabin

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Indian Pipe is all over the place

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe, monotropa uniflora

My second favorite wildflower, the Indian Pipe, is blooming right now. It is a really good year for this unique wildflower and it’s all over the place over at the Vermilion Gorge Hiking Trail. (stayed tuned for my #1 favorite wildflower)

monotropa uniflora

monotropa uniflora

Ever wonder what the nodding heads of Indian Pipe hides? Here is a damaged flower that was lying on the trail. I would never pick any of these wild plants – they’re just too rare and delicate to disturb. They require very specialized soil ingredients in just the right balance to grow and thrive.

The flowering plant is completely white because they require no chlorophyll to grow – chlorophyll is the component that makes plants green.

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Toads are out, look out!

toad

American Toad

baby toad

baby Toad

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Bunchberry

Bunchberry in bloom

Bunchberry in bloom

I recently read that only the Bunchberry that blooms has 6 leaves. I remembered to check that out last time I was in the woods.

Bunchberry with 4 leaves

Bunchberry with 4 leaves

Here’s a plant that hasn’t bloomed, there’s only 4 leaves.

6 leaved Bunchberry

6 leaved Bunchberry

This is a plant that is setting fruit, notice again the 6 leaves.

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more wildflowers

wintergreen, one-flower

One-flowered Wintergreen

flowers, twin

Twin Flowers

twin flower

Twin Flower

 

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Wildflowers are blooming

yellow lady slippers

Yellow Lady Slippers

orchid,dragon-mouth

Dragon’s Mouth Orchid

iris,blue-flag

Blue Flag Iris

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Rare bird visits northland

lark bunting

Lark Bunting

Last week a very special bird visited the area. It was a Lark Bunting! A bird that’s supposed to be out on the great plains of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Their breeding range also extends into the prairie provinces of Canada.

This bird is actually the state bird of Colorado. We were thrilled that this bird made a stopover in northern Minnesota for a couple days.

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