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Photo Essay of Wagner Fens

Updated: Jun 20

It was a cold and rainy day on June 8, 2024 when ENPS volunteers Patsy Cotterill, Manna Parseyan and Susan Neuman ventured out into the southern fens of the Wagner Natural Area. Although it had been a cold, late spring, they were able to document 42 species in flower, including four native orchids. Here are some of their finds…


Open Grassy Habitat


Carex aurea (golden sedge) in early fruit.  These tiny “grapes” will turn yellow when mature.
Carex aurea (golden sedge) in early fruit. These tiny “grapes” will turn yellow when mature.

Anthoxanthum hirtum (hairy sweetgrass).
Anthoxanthum hirtum (hairy sweetgrass).



Riparian Habitat



Chrysosplenium iowense (Iowa golden-saxifrage).
Chrysosplenium iowense (Iowa golden-saxifrage).

View of vegetation in south Morgan Creek.
View of vegetation in south Morgan Creek.

Caltha palustris (marsh marigold).
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold).



Woodland: Orchids and Other Species


Corallorhiza trifida (early coralroot).
Corallorhiza trifida (early coralroot).

Galearis rotundifolia (small round-leaved orchid)
Galearis rotundifolia (small round-leaved orchid)


Mitella nuda (naked mitrewort).
Mitella nuda (naked mitrewort).

Cypripedium parviflorum (yellow lady’s-slipper).  A perfect pair of slippers!
Cypripedium parviflorum (yellow lady’s-slipper). A perfect pair of slippers!

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry).  Those little black dots are stigmas and indicate these flowers are open, although the majority are not.
Cornus canadensis (bunchberry). Those little black dots are stigmas and indicate these flowers are open, although the majority are not.

Current year’s female cone on Larix laricina (tamarack), along with recently flushed leaves (tamarack is a deciduous conifer).
Current year’s female cone on Larix laricina (tamarack), along with recently flushed leaves (tamarack is a deciduous conifer).



Fen


Maianthemum trifolium (three-leaved false Solomon's seal). This plant is an inhabitant of wet, wooded fen areas, not to be confused with Maianthemum canadense (wild lily-of-the-valley) a plant of drier woodlands.
Maianthemum trifolium (three-leaved false Solomon's seal). This plant is an inhabitant of wet, wooded fen areas, not to be confused with Maianthemum canadense (wild lily-of-the-valley) a plant of drier woodlands.


Fen floor detail showing arctic raspberry, common butterwort rosettes, bunchberry and twinflower leaves, saline shootingstar shoots, hairlike sedge, horsetails, willow and rose seedlings, moss.
Fen floor detail showing arctic raspberry, common butterwort rosettes, bunchberry and twinflower leaves, saline shootingstar shoots, hairlike sedge, horsetails, willow and rose seedlings, moss.


Rubus arcticus (arctic raspberry). This plant used to be called stemless raspberry; you can see why.
Rubus arcticus (arctic raspberry). This plant used to be called stemless raspberry; you can see why.

Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary).
Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary).


Hourglass Marl Pond.
Hourglass Marl Pond.

Primula pauciflora (saline shootingstar).
Primula pauciflora (saline shootingstar).

Viola nephrophylla (northern bog violet).
Viola nephrophylla (northern bog violet).

Neottia cordata (heart-leaved twayblade).
Neottia cordata (heart-leaved twayblade).

Sphagnum warnstorfii (fen sphagnum), common in Wagner fens.
Sphagnum warnstorfii (fen sphagnum), common in Wagner fens.

Sedge fen, with tamarack and black spruce in the distance. ,
Sedge fen, with tamarack and black spruce in the distance. ,

Carex aquatilis (water sedge), with pollen-bearing spikes above, female spikes below.
Carex aquatilis (water sedge), with pollen-bearing spikes above, female spikes below.


Eriophorum angustifolium (narrow-leaved cottongrass).
Eriophorum angustifolium (narrow-leaved cottongrass).

Triglochin maritima (seaside arrowgrass).
Triglochin maritima (seaside arrowgrass).

Carex prairea (prairie sedge) takes the prize for a misnamed plant, for in our area it is never found in prairies but always in calcareous fens, where it forms conspicuously large tufts.
Carex prairea (prairie sedge) takes the prize for a misnamed plant, for in our area it is never found in prairies but always in calcareous fens, where it forms conspicuously large tufts.





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