Minnesota Plants

     
 
Superdivision Embryophyta
 
 

Embryophyta (land plants) is a superdivision of the kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants). Embryophytes are distinguished by having a life cycle that involves alternation of generations the ability to live on land. They include vascular plants, which are those organisms traditionally thought of as plants, as well as non-vascular plants, which include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.

According to one estimate, there are 311,078 embryophyte species worldwide.

 

Riddell’s goldenrod

 

 

         
 

Distribution Maps

 
 

Plant occurrence data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (PLANTS Database) includes only locations where a specimen has been collected by an herbarium. Rare species location data published by the Minnesota DNR is similarly constrained. Online sources of distribution data for plants in Minnesota rely on these two authorities. This results in published plant ranges that may be representative but are of necessity incomplete.

The distribution maps on MinnesotaSeasons.com are derived from multiple sources. Each map is accompanied with links indicating which sources were used in creating the map. Those sources include University of Minnesota Bell Herbarium, USDA PLANTS Database, and the Minnesota DNR Rare Species Guide. However, they also include online databases, such as the Minnesota State checklist of vascular plants (MnTaxa); Biota of North America Program (BONAP); Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), and iNaturalist; and print resources, such as Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota and Native Orchids of Minnesota, both by Welby R. Smith; and Vascular Plants of Minnesota by Ownbey and Morley. The maps also include sightings by MinnesotaSeasons.com, and sightings by contributors to MinnesotaSeasons.com that have been verified by the inclusion of a photo sufficient to identify the species.

The distribution maps at the right show the occurrence of red mulberry in Minnesota as reported by PLANTS and by MinnesotaSeasons.com.

  Range Map  
    red mulberry
USDA PLANTS Database
 
       
    Range Map  
    red mulberry
MinnesotaSeasons.com
 
       
       
       
       
       

 

Taxonomic Rank

In biology, the level of classification (rank) below kingdom and above class is division. In botany, the term division has traditionally been used. The rules and recommendations for formal botanical names currently in effect is The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). The ICN accepts the terms phylum and division as equivalent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

         
 
Recent Additions
 
 

Juniper haircap moss

 
 

Juniper haircap moss (Polytrichum juniperinum) is a common and widespread moss with a worldwide distribution, occurring on every continent including Antarctica. In North America it has been recorded in every Canadian province and in every U.S. state except Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in a wide variety of habitats, including upland open woodlands, savannas, sand prairies, roadsides, trail sides, rocky ledges, and creek banks. It sometimes colonizes forest openings following a fire or a blowdown. It grows under full sun to light shade, in dry conditions, on acidic, gravelly or sandy soil, or on thin soil over rock. It usually forms loose to moderately dense colonies, and often forms extensive patches.

Juniper haircap moss stems are densely leafy. The leaves are narrow, stiff, and sharply pointed. They resemble juniper leaves. This is the feature that gives the species its common name. When moist, they are flat and they spread straight out in all directions from the stem. When dry, they fold upward against the stem. Male plants develop a flower-like, yellowish to reddish “splash cup”, allowing sperm to be dispersed by rain drops. The fertilized female plant produces a sharply rectangular capsule at the end of a long yellowish to reddish stalk. At maturity, the spores are dispersed by wind.

  round-lobed hepatica  
    Photo by Nancy Falkum  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 

Early buttercup

 
 

Early buttercup (Ranunculus fascicularis) is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring. It produces bright yellow flowers in April and May. It is found usually in tufts in open woodlands, woodland openings, savannas, prairies, pastures, farmyards, lawns, railroads, and roadsides. It grows under full sun to partial shade on rocky or sandy soil that is poor in nutrients and where there is little competing vegetation.

Early buttercup occurs in the United States and southern Canada east of the Great Plains. In Minnesota it is scattered to common in the lower third of the state, local and uncommon to absent in the middle third, and absent in the northern third.

Early buttercup is a small plant with relatively large flowers. The basal leaves are on long hairy stalks and are divided into 3 to 5 primary leaflets. The leaflets may also be divided into 3 lobes or secondary leaflets. The stem leaves are similar but smaller and less divided. The outer floral leaves (sepals) are flat, not folded or ridged. The flowers are yellow and glossy, and almost always have just five petals. The seed capsules have a long straight beak.

  early buttercup  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 

Hooked buttercup

 
 

Hooked buttercup (Ranunculus recurvatus var. recurvatus) is a common woodland spring wildflower. It occurs in the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada. It is found in wet to moderately moist or sometimes dry woodlands, in woodland openings and trails, on banks of rivers and streams, and in swamps and fens. It grows in rich organic soil under light to medium shade.

Most members of the genus Ranunculus, including hooked buttercup, are poisonous. They cause blistering in the mouth and in the gastrointestinal tract when eaten. Handling the plants causes contact dermatitis.

Hooked buttercup is an erect plant. The basal leaves are large and are divided into three lobes. A few solitary flowers appear at the end of the stem between May to June. The flowers have small, pale yellow petals and are not showy. The fruits have a slender extension (beak) at the end. The beak is strongly curved, appearing hooked. This is the feature that gives the plant its common name.

Hooked buttercup is easily identified. The large lobed leaves and small pale yellow petals help with the identification. The hooked beak of the achenes confirm it.

  hooked buttercup  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 

Japanese hedge parsley

 
 

Japanese hedge parsley (Torilis japonica) is native to Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in North America in 1917 and is now naturalized. In the United States it is widespread but sporadic in the east and in the Pacific Northwest. It is found in natural areas, including open woodlands, woodland edges, savannas, and thickets; and in disturbed sites, including pastures, roadsides, and railroads. It grows under partial sun to full shade, sometimes under full sun, in dry to moderately moist soil. It is considered an aggressively invasive weed here, where it can out-compete native species. Wisconsin lists it as Prohibited/Restricted Invasive - Eradicate! (their emphasis). In Minnesota it is not listed but there is a program to eradicate it in Dakota County parks.

Japanese hedge parsley can be 8 to 48 tall, but in Minnesota flowering plants are usually no more than 24 in height. In Minnesota it is a biennial, taking two years to complete its life cycle. In more southerly regions it is an annual. The stems are erect, grooved, and hairy, The leaves are fern-like, divided into three or five sections then divided again. They are covered with hairs both above and below. Tiny white flowers appear in a loose umbrella-like cluster at the end of the stem and the branches. The fruit is a small brown seed covered with hooked hairs that will stubbornly cling to any fabric.

  Japanese hedge parsley  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 

Inland serviceberry

 
 

Inland serviceberry (Amelanchier interior) is usually a large deciduous shrub, sometimes a small tree. It occurs only in a narrow range in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and Maine, east to southern Ontario and Minnesota, and south to northern Illinois and Ohio. It is found in dry forests, fields, and thickets, and on hillsides, bluffs, and stream banks. It is sometimes also found in bogs. It grows under full or partial sun in moist to dry, sandy or sandy-loamy soil.

Inland serviceberry is somewhat variable in appearance, having characteristics intermediate between other serviceberries, and having a large range of lengths of flower stalks (pedicels), floral leaves (sepals), and petals. What is now defined as inland serviceberry may be hybrid swarm involving smooth serviceberry, low serviceberry, and/or roundleaf serviceberry.

Inland serviceberry is identified by the leaves, which are densely hairy below in the spring and become nearly hairless at maturity; the margins of the larger leaves, which have at least 27 teeth per side; and the ovary, which is densely hairy at the top.

  inland serviceberry  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
         
 
Other Recent Additions
 
 

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. petaloidea)

blue toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis)

redshank (Ceratodon purpureus)

porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea)

  Howell’s pussytoes (ssp. neodioica)  
    Photo by Luciearl  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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