Heron Rookery Exploration

A jack-in-the-pulpit plant on a leafy forest floor with four blooms and various shades of green

Discover Wonderous Wildflowers

 
The Little Calumet River flows around fallen trees though a lush green woodland in the Heron Rookery.

Overview

The rich, damp floodplain of the Little Calumet River supports a woodland who's understory bursts into life each spring. Some plant species are known as "ephermerals," they race to complete their life cycle before the trees' leaves emerge and block the sunlight. Have you met some of our plant friends? Click and drag the arrowed sliding tool to learn about some of the characters of Heron Rookery's wildflower show that dazzles the banks of the Little Calumet River. You can explore virtually or by taking a visit to the site. Send questions or observations by emailing Ranger Julie.

The best time to see ephemerals in bloom is from mid April through May. Similar wildflowers can be found in the region on the Little Calumet River Trail, the Hobart Prairie Grove Woodland Trail, and the Upland Trail near Pinhook Bog. Try hiking all four and discover similarities between the sites that help support these diverse displays!

Please be a good visitor!

To hep ensure a beautiful displays for years to come, please stay on the official trail and leave wildflowers where they are.
Use Leave No Trace principles.

 
1
A small flower with white petals and red wine colored anthers leans over a small twig at the bottom of the forest floor. Text with blank background, "Who am I?"
Answer: Slide to reveal
Question: Who am I?

I get my name from being one of the first blooms and signs of springtime.

My anthers turn from red-wine colored to black, hence my other common name, "Pepper-and-Salt" 




 
2
Text with blank background, "Who am I?" Plant with thin, jagged green leaves and light pink, four-petal blooms
Question: Who am I?
Answer: Slide to reveal

I have a distinctive, deeply clefted leaflet.

My common name comes from the shape of my rihzome.




 
3
Flowers on single stalks with bright yellow petals that peel back. Text with blank background, "Who am I?"
Answer: Slide to reveal
Question: Who am I?

The mottled pattern of my leaves helps disguise them from being eaten by mammalian herbivores because they lack color vision.

I grow in large colonies (some have been dated over 300 years) where only about 0.5% of us will have a flower each year.




 
4
Text with blank background, "Who am I?" Multiple, large white blooms with thin petals and yellow centers. Large, rounded green leaves with notches surround the flowers.
Question: Who am I?
Answer: Slide to reveal

My leaf is larger than my flower, and it surrounds my bloom when I emerge from the ground.

My name comes from bright orange/red liquid found in my stem, leaves, and roots.




 
5
A bright, blue/purple bloom with six petals and slender, fuzzy stalks. Text with blank background, "Who am I?"
Answer: Slide to reveal
Question: Who am I?

My leaves are shaped like a liver.

My stems are very hairy.

My flowers are lavender to white with 6 petals.




 
6
Text with blank background, "Who am I?" Bloom of five white petals with think, pink stripes.
Question: Who am I?
Answer: Slide to reveal

I'm an abudant little bloom that remains in yards when neighborhoods are built over woodlands. 

Although I'm known as the "fairy spud," my corms were more commonly eaten by American Indians than forest sprites. 




 
7
A stalk with curious, white blooms that resemble upside down pairs of pants. Text with blank background, "Who am I?"
Answer: Slide to reveal
Question: Who am I?

I am named for my flowers which are said to resemble upside down pairs of pants.

I need bumblebees to be pollinated, only they know how to seperate my outer and inner petals!




 
8
Text with blank background, "Who am I?" Three petaled, red wine-colored flowers sit on top of three green, mottled leaves resting at the top of a stalk.
Question: Who am I?
Answer: Slide to reveal

I have three leaves and three petals.

My name would have you think I live in grasslands, but like most other ephemerals, I live in woodlands!




 
9
A large, three-petaled, white flower with three green leaves. Text with blank background, "Who am I?"
Answer: Slide to reveal
Question: Who am I?

I am pollinated by honey bees, bumble bees, and wasps; and I'm a favorite snack for deer!

I have three petals and three leaves, like my cousins!

Ants take my fruit underground where they eat the fatty, protein-rich bit and leave the seed. The following spring, the seed is in a perfect place for germination!




 
10
Text with blank background, "Who am I?" Light purple, four-petaled flowers with red/brown sepals at the top of a short plant with little rounded leaves.
Question: Who am I?
Answer: Slide to reveal

My cousin is cut-leaved toothwort, but my blooms are more pink/purple!

Invasive garlic mustard will quickly remove me from a habitat, as I cannot compete. 

My other cousin, spring cress, has white flowers and blooms after me!




 

Take a Virtual Tour

Join Ranger Kim along the Heron Rookery Trail as she discusses its many qualities along with many botanical insights.

Grab a Trail Map

Great need-to-know information you'll be glad you snagged before taking your own Heron Rookery Trail hike.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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