bright violet lupines

Ours eye are often drawn to the big view – the amazing waterfall, the panorama of the Lake Superior, the river gorge. While you’re out and about, take time to look down. The shaded habitat of wooded river edges favors little spring flowers like spring beauties, trillium and columbine. No need to hike to see flowers. Marsh marigolds fill spring ditches with masses of yellow heads. Then in June the lupine [shown here] spread across hillsides. Throughout summer contrasting daisies and black-eyed Susans, set the stage for tall willowy hot pink fireweed.

Unique or infrequently seen wildflowers grow in mini-tundra ecosystems found along the shore, including the Butterwort Cliffs. It is located a few miles northeast of, but still within, Cascade River State Park. [Note – it is illegal to pick or dig up wildflowers within state parks]. Butterwort is a small carnivorous plant typically found closer to Hudson Bay and north. It grows in fragile mats with sticky yellow-green leaves. Another carnivorous flower is the northern pitcher plant, found in swampy areas and where shallow creeks join lakes. It looks a bit like a muted red lady’s slipper. The lady slipper, Minnesota’s state flower, can sometimes be seen in openings in wooded areas where you may also spot wild lilies and orchids.

Enjoy the flowers!

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