Sunday, July 26, 2009

100 Species # 58 and Find #212

Specimen #58 Yellow coneflower

Ratibida pinnata (and a bumblebee)

photo by me, Friday, July 24, 209

Effigy Mounds National Monument, Fire Point

I snapped this during the scenic view portion of our guided tour at EFMO (that's my nickname for Effigy Mounds National Monument). Yeah, I was looking at the plants. The entire tour I lagged behind to look at the plants. I mean, I saw the view, too. Here's the view. It's the Mississippi River from 808 feet. I'm guessing that sunsets are gorgeously beautiful here. But honestly, I was thinking, "I am really glad that I'm physically fit enough to trek up here. That grandpa over there is panting."

I've been told for about six years that my family needs to take the guided tour at this place. I'd also been told by my grandmother that the mounds weren't as impressive as you might think. But once I found that there was an earthcache GC19697 on site and my boys were going to visit with their scout troop, I was so conveniently hitching a ride. I definitely think the guide and the museum were key to my enjoyment. The information in the earthcache was very interesting.

The Ratibida is a prairie plant, and EFMO has prairies. The tour we took happened to be in more of a woodland area than prairie. Evidently the mounds were not originally located in a forest but a prairie? Mr. TellBlast and I are wondering how the prairie disappeared, because no one in their right mind would plow up and down steep hillsides. And the place was steep, and rocky, too. Anyway, the natives who built the mounds may have used yellow coneflower medicinally, but we'll never really know, because there is no written history and they were all gone by the time anyone realized what the mounds were. Later Indian cultures had no idea that mounds existed at what is now EFMO.

I have read that "[p]ioneers used the dried seed heads like cedar chips to protect clothing." (from this source)

This flower has drooping petals, which makes it very distinct from other flowers. You'll find occasional signs to identify trees and forbs along Fire Point trail. The forb signs are poor compared to the tree signs, just a name, no picture, no "months when blooming," no interpretation. Just a name. This patch of flowers did not have a sign.

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