What's Bloomin'?


Wood LilyWild BergamontSpreading DogbaneTwinflowerSensitive FernRichardsod's GeraniumMale FernBlanket FlowerDrummond's ThistleBlackeyed Susan



The weather has warmed up and the mid-summer flowers are really raging.  The wet spring this year has produced some lovely wildflower displays.  Each new species that bursts into bloom is abundant, vivid and of “wow” status this season.

In some years you only see a smattering of bright orange wood lilies (Lilium philadelphicum), but this year the displays have been quite impressive!  Richardson’s geranium (Geranium richardsonii) has white petals with purple veins and can be found along streams and in moist forests across the Black Hills.  Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) grows in shady white spruce forests and is a low growing ground cover with dainty pink bell shaped flowers.  Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) also has pink bell shaped flowers; it has spreading red stems, opposite leaves and grows in more sunny forest openings.  The American spurred gentian (Halenia deflexa) grows in moist drainages and has a less showy but very interesting spurred purple flower.

Drummond’s thistle (Cirsium drummondii) is one of our good native thistles and has a huge purple flower and a fleshy thick stem.  It is common to see bumble bees and butterflies around this one.

Ferns don’t produce flowers, but they are also out and about right now.  Look for lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) in very moist shaded areas and along streams.  Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis) can grow in dense patches in open wetland areas and along creeks. Rocky Mountain polypody (Polypodium saximontanum) grows in crevices in granite rock outcrops in the Black Elk Wilderness.  Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) has large three-parted fronds and can form extensive colonies in moist forests in the Black Hills.  Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) has large fronds that grow in clumps; it is found in crevices in granite rock outcrops at the higher elevations in the central Black Hills and occasionally along streams in the northern Black Hills.

Keep your eyes open for these other species beginning to show up in the forest and along trails and roadsides:  blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), and blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata).

New flowers will continue to show up as we shift into late summer season.  Stop back by What’s Bloomin? for updates!

Cheryl Mayer

July 17, 2018

Contact Cheryl Mayer at (605) 673-9231 for more information.