This is the 32nd in our 50 Days of Chicago Nature. Read previous posts here.
Blue Flag Iris and Spiderwort are two of our more readily identifiable native perennial plants and relatively easy to locate.
"You're not going to find them everywhere, but they are findable," says Linda Masters, Restoration Specialist with Openlands, which is one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation. "They can take a little wetter and dryer [conditions] and disturbance and still hang in there."
Linda says that individuals of the species, found in places like the Calumet region, have probably been around for up to 50 years. Blue Flag Iris is 2 to 3 feet tall and produces clumps of sword-shaped basal leaves. Spiderwort is 2 to 4 feet tall and mostly unbranched, except at the apex. Irises like sunny, wetter areas, and Spiderwort likes sunny, grassy, dryer areas.
On a recent day, Linda shared that the timing of wildflower blooms vary quite a bit from south to north across the region. Plants on the North Shore are about two weeks behind plants on the South Side and in the South Suburbs. Their presence helps inform her and Openlands' management of land.
"When I see [these plants], it signals me to take a closer look to slow down a little bit," Linda says. "I take a closer look to see something else to inform me about the area."