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Version 1.

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December 2003
John C. Almendinger

Plants Appearing in the Field Guides to Native Plant
Communities of Minnesota: Identification and Ecology

John C. Almendinger
Ecological Land Classification Program
Division of Forestry
413 SE 13th Street
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
218-327-4449 ext. 245
john.almendinger@dnr.state.mn.us
Acer rubrum L. h Red maple h ACERACEAE
Acer rubrum is one of seven species of Acer that occur in Minnesota. It is native to eight
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior
Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western
Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, Paleozoic Plateau and occurs rarely in the
Red River Valley.

A. rubrum is a tree up to 35 m. in height. Its opposite leaves are sharply three to five lobed
and with a coarse, doubly serrate margin sometimes creating minor lobes. Fall color is a
bright crimson. Flowers are red to yellowish, very dense and on short stalks, appearing much
earlier than the leaves in March and April. The fruit is a pair of smooth, one-seeded
samaras, 2-3 cm long.

Red maple is similar to Silver maple(A. saccharinum) however, silver maple has very deeply
cut leaf sinuses. The shrub, mountain maple (A. spicatum) can be difficult to discern from
young red maples. Red maple flowers much earlier than spring leaf-out as opposed to Primary (black) and secondary
mountain maple, red maple fruits are pendant and mountain maple has an upright panicle, (grey) ranges of A. rubrum in
the state. Occurrences are
and red maple leaves are more deeply lobed than mountain maple. shown in white.

Silver maple leaves
Samaras

Mountain maple leaves

Red maple leaves and pendant samaras
Ecological Notes
Red maple is a common tree of Mesic Hardwood Forests, Fire-dependent Forests & Woodlands, and Wet Forests. It occurs as seedlings in any forest ecosystem
(including peatlands), consistent with the observation that it is expanding its range under modern land-use conditions. It is most extensive in the northern florisitc
regions* of terrestrial forests, and common in the central regions. Red maple can occur on almost any landform and on soils of any texture. Soil drainage on sites
with red maple range from excessively drained to poorly drained, with the former more common along its western extent and the latter more common in eastern
Minnesota. Mean synecological scores for 1,521 forested sample plots with red maple are: M=2.5, N=2.8, and L=2.6.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Acer spicatum Lam. h Mountain maple h ACERACEAE

Acer spicatum is one of seven species of Acer that occur in Minnesota. It is native to eight
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern
Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands,
Western Superior Uplands and the Paleozoic Plateau. It is rarely found in the Minnesota &
NE Iowa Moraines and the Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands.

A. spicatum is a shrub or small tree up to 10 m in height. Leaves have three (sometimes
five) lobes that are pubescent underneath and coarsely serrate. Each tooth is tipped with a
minute, gland-tipped hair. June flowers are yellowish-green and appear after the leaves,
often forming erect and dense clusters (panicles) at the branch tips. Seeds are samaras,
strongly veined across the seed with the two halves spreading out at a right angle. New
growth is bright green, becoming red, and increasingly gray with twig age.

A. spicatum is quite easily confused with A. rubrum and possibly with Viburnum trilobum Primary (black) and secondary
because of similarities of the leaf. V. trilobum can be distinguished by its much shorter leaf (grey) ranges of A. spicatum in
the state. Occurrences are
stalk and mildly serrate leaf margins. A. rubrum flowers much earlier than spring leaf-out shown in white.
as opposed to A. spicatum, and its samaras are not distinctly veined

Mountain maple leaves and terminal, upright panicles of flowers
Photo: Robert W. Freckmann, Univ. of Wisconsin

Ecological Notes
Mountain maple is a common shrub of Mesic Hardwood Forests, mesic Fire-dependent Forests, and Wet Forests. It is a good indicator of the northern floristic
region of these forest ecosystems. It occurs mostly on coarse till that often overlies bedrock or dense basal till. Soil drainage on sites with mountain maple are
typcially well-drained or moderately well drained; the range extending to somewhat poorly drained soils. Mean synecological scores for 783 forested sample plots
with mountain maple are: M=2.6, N=2.9, L=2.4.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Achillea millefolium L. h Yarrow h COMPOSITAE
Achillea millefolium is one of three species of Achillea that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

A. millefolium is an aromatic, rhizomatous perennial up to 1m in height. The stem is sparsely
to densely villous or wooly villous with leaf blades that are pinnately dissected. Basal leaves
are petiolate while all but the lower-most are cauline / sessile. The flower head is more or
less flat-topped, corymbiform with white disk flowers 2 - 4 mm wide, numbering 10 to 30.
In forests, it commonly appear as just basal leaves.

Yarrow is easily identified by its uniquely dissected leaf blades in upland habitats.
Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. millifolium in
the state. Occurrences are
shown in white.

Basal Leaf

Photo: Michael Clayton, University of Wisconsin

Flat-topped inflorescence
Photo: Kenneth J. Sytsma, University of Wisconsin

Ecological Notes
Yarrow is a common weed of open, disturbed habitats across Minnesota. It occurs within native vegetation in both Upland and Wetland Prairies as well as open,
Fire-dependent Woodlands. When in woodlands, it occurs on outwash plains and sandy lacustrine deposits that in their past were prairies. The soils are
droughty, lacking any subsoil horizons that can perch snowmelt or rainfall. Soil drainage on woodland sites with yarrow are somewhat excessively drained to
well-drained. Mean synecological scores for 368 sample plots with yarrow are: M=1.9, N=2.4, L=4.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Actaea rubra (Ait.) Willd. h Red baneberry h RANUNCULACEAE
Actaea rubra is one of two species of Actaea which occur in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

A. rubra is a perennial herb growing 40 - 80 cm tall. Leaves are large, ternately compound,
with a toothed margin and a pubescence on the underside of the leaves. Small white
flowers form on a dense, long peduncled, terminal raceme. A distinctive red fruit
cluster makes this plant easy to identify late in the season. Blooms May through June.

A white berried version, A. rubra forma neglecta, is commonly mistaken for its closest relative
Actaea pachypoda, which also has white fruits called “doll’s eyes.” The slender green
Primary (black) and secondary
pedicels of red baneberries are distinctly different from the fleshy, bright pink pedicels of (grey) ranges of A. rubra in the
doll’s eyes. Red baneberry somewhat resembles C. thalictroides (Blue cohosh) and T. state. Occurrences are shown in
dioicum (Early meadow rue) because of their similar size and leaf arrangement but these white.
species lack the serrate leaflet margins of red baneberry.

Slender pedicels
Inflorescence

Thalictrum dioicum with entire leaflets Fleshy pedicels and “doll’s
eyes” of white baneberry

Ecological Notes
Red baneberry is common in Mesic Hardwood Forests and mesic Fire-dependent Forests, and occurs less frequently in Wet Forests. It occurs in all floristic
regions* of these forested ecosystems. It prefers till as a parent material, but occasionally occurs in locally richer portions of outwash and lacustrine plains as
well. Soil drainage on sites where red baneberry occurs is mostly well-drained or moderately well drained, ranging to somewhat poorly drained. Mean
synecological scores for 750 forested sample plots with red baneberry are: M=2.6, N=3.4, L=2.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Adiantum pedatum L. h Maidenhair-fern h POLYPODACEAE
A. pedatum is the only species of Adaintum which occurs in Minnesota. It is native to six
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central
Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

A. pedatum is a fern up to 70 cm in height arising from a thick rhizome. Early in the year the
stipe and rachis are usually glaucous. The rachis divides into two equal recurved
branches, each of 5 to 9 pinnae, on the upper side only. These pinnae grow up to 35 cm
long. The indusia are oblong and whitish.

No other fern or plant is easily confused with maidenhairs.

Fertile pinnae
Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. pedatum in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Maidenhair frond from above showing unique branching

Ecological Notes
Maidenhair fern is a good indicator plant of environmental conditions. It occurs almost exlusively in Mesic Hardwood Forests, with a few rare occurrences in Wet
Forests. It is an indicator of the Southern or Central floristic regions*, being a rarity in Northern hardwoods. It has a rather strong correlation with rich, sitly soils
(Udolls and Udalfs) that occur in a variety of landscapes: loess-capped bedrock, loess-capped moraine, lake-washed till, and alluvial terraces. The soils where
maidenhairs occur are almost all described as well-drained, ranging infrequently to moderately well drained soils. Mean synecological scores for 197 forested
sample plots with maidenhairs are: M=2.5, N=4.4, L=1.5.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Agastache foeniculum (pursh) Kuntze h Blue Giant-Hyssop h LABIATAE
Agastache foeniculum one of three species of Agastache that occur in Minnesota. It is
native to six ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands,
Paleozoic Plateau and occasionally in the Red River Valley.

A. foeniculum is an erect plant up to 1m in height. Leaves are ovate to deltoid-ovate with
the largest up to 9 cm, reducing in size toward the apex.. Leaf margins are strongly
serrate, glabrous above and whitened with a fine close pubescence beneath, petioles
are rarely longer that 1.5 cm. Blue flower spikes are solitary and terminal, with
additional ones terminating on short axillary branches. These are cylindric up to 15 cm in
length and 2 - 3 cm in diameter, commonly interrupted with broadly ovate bracteal leaves.

A. foeniculum is easily distinguished from A. nepetoides by checking for the white
pubescence found on the lower leaf surface of A. foeniculum. A. scrophulariaefolia has
Primary (black) and secondary
only a single occurrence in the state, virtually eliminating a chance for confusion. Blue (grey) ranges of A. foeniculum in
giant-hyssop superficially resembles several other mints, but few others have such whitened the state. Occurrences are shown
undersides of the leaves and the distinct smell of anise or fennel. in white.

Leaves showing glabrous tops and whitened undersides

Inflorescence

Ecological Notes
Blue giant-hyssop is common in dry Fire-dependent Woodlands and occurs also in Upland Prairie. It is one of but a few plants in Minnesota with a distribution
limited to the transition zone between woodlands and prairies – Central and Northwestern floristic regions*. It occurs almost exclusively on sandy outwash plains
or sandy lacustrine sediments. The soils are excessively to somewhat excessively drained, ranging to well-drained. These soils have no subsoil horizons capable
of perching snowmelt or rainfall. Mean synecological scores for 61 wooded sample plots with blue giant-hyssop are: M=1.8, N=2.4, L=3.8.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Alnus incana (L.) Moench h Speckled alder h BETULACEAE
Alnus incana is one of two species of Alnus that occur in Minnesota. It is native to eight
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota Drift
& Lake Plains, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Western Superior uplands, Southern Superior Uplands, and
rarely in the Paleozoic Plateau.

A. incana is a tall shrub or sometimes a small tree of 5 - 8 m tall. Mature plants have both
female and male flowers borne in catkins typical of the Birch family that appear before
the leaves. Unlike the birches, the female catkin scales are woody and persist as small
“cones” that are evident thro ughout the year. Its leaves are oval to elliptica l, broadest in
the middle with a sharply, double serrate margin and are more or less pubescent
beneath. The dark brownish, grey trunk is marked with very evident white linear lenticles.
Typically individuals will have several aerial stems emanating from a central, elevated
stool.
Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. incana in the
This plant is most similar to other members of the Birch family. Alders are the only member
state. Occurrences are shown in
of this group with persistent woody cones. Speckled alder is most easily confused with green
alder (A. viridis) which differs from speckled alder in that it has long pedicels on the female
cones (1 - 3 cm), leaf undersides that are slightly sticky
(glutinous), and a preference for rather dry upland habitats.

Male catkins

Female “cones” on short
pedicels

Doubly serrate leaves Green alder leaves with sticky underside
and female “cones” on long peduncles
Ecological Notes
Speckled alder is a common and often dominant plant of Rich Peatland Forests, Rich Open Peatlands, and Wetland Forests. A.
incana is strongly affiliated with the northern, northwestern and central floristic regions* of the state, rarely is it found in the southern
region. It occurs on almost any landform and soil, as long as drainage is very poor to somewhat poor. Rarely it occurs in terrestrial
forests, and its presence there usually indicates a high water table or a subsoil horizon that perches rainfall. Often, this shrub forms
elevated root masses (stools), which indicate standing water in the spring. Mean synecological scores for 351 forested sample plots
with speckled alder are: M=3.4, N=2.3, L=3.2.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Alnus viridis (Vill.) Lam. & DC. h Green alder h BETULACEAE
A. viridis is one of two species of Alnus which occur in Minnesota. It is native to five
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern
Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands and
the Western Superior Uplands It is rare in the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

A. viridis is a tall shrub or sometimes a small tree of 5-8 m tall. Mature plants have both
female and male flowers borne in catkins typical of the Birch family that appear before the
leaves. Unlike the birches, the female catkin scales are woody and persist as small
“cones” that are evident throughout the year. Its leaves are oval to elliptical, broadest in the
middle with a fine, sharp serrate margin. Young branches and leaves are more or less
glutinous. The dark brownish, grey trunk is marked with very evident white linear lenticles.

A. viridis can be distinguished from A. incana by its sticky young buds and leaves and also
by its long-stalked pistillate “cones”.
Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. viridis in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Young branch with immature pistillate catkins

Glutinous back of leaf and maturing “cones” on long pedicels

Ecological Notes
Green alder is an occasional plant of dry-mesic and mesic Fire-dependent Forests. It is charactersitic of the Northern floristic region* of this forest ecosystem,
occurring very rarely in the Central floristic region. It prefers coarse-textured till, but occurs occasionally on sandy or gravelly outwash. Soil drainage on sites
where green alder occurs ranges from excessively drained to moderately well drained. The soils have no subsoil horizons capable of perching snowmelt or
rainfall. Green alder has an affinity for sites with white pine or sites that were formerly white pine. Mean synecological scores for 88 forested sample plots with
green alder are: M=2.3, N=2.1, L=3.2.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Amphicarpaea bracteata (l.) Fern h Hog-Peanut h LEGUMINOSAE
A. bracteata is the only species of Amphicarpaea found in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota Drift
& Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River
Valley. It is less lextensive in the Northern Superior Uplands and the Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands.

A. bracteata is a twinning perennial herb with stems up to 1 m in length. Leaflets of
three are ovate to rhombic-ovate, acuminate with rounded bases. Whitish or pale-purple
flowers are in a raceme or panicle that is peduncled from many of the leaf axils. As a
legume, this plant produces a flat, oblong pod with few seeds. Most plants producing
filiform stems that have subterranean fruits (the “peanuts”) that do not resemble a
legume in that just a single seed is usually produced.

A. bracteata is most likely confused with other twining, herbaceous legumes within its Tribe: Primary (black) and secondary
Apios americana and two species of Strophostyles. Apios differs by having 5-7 leaflets (grey) ranges of A. bracteata in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
whereas hog peanut is trifoliate. Both Strophostyles are trifoliate, but S. helveola has white.
undulate leaflet margins and S. leiosperma has much narrower leaflets than hog peanut.

Hog peanut twining on a young shrub, note white flower and the mature pod above.

Ecological Notes
Hog peanut occurs mostly in Mesic Hardwood Forests, but may also be found in Fire-dependent Woodlands and some Wet Forests. It is extremely abundant in
the Central floristic region*, but occurs in the Northern and Southern floristic regions as well. It occurs on a wide variety of landforms and soil types. Hog peanut
has a strong affinity for forests with oak trees. Mean synecological scores for 638 forested sample plots with hog peanut are: M=2.4, N=3.6, L=2.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Andropogon gerardii Vitman h Big bluestem h POACEAE
Andropogon gerardii is the o nly species of Andropogon that occurs in M inneso ta. It is
native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, Minneso ta & NE Iowa M oraines, North Centra l Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic
Plateau, and the Red River Valley.

A. gerardii is a tall perennial grass that usually occurs in distinct tufts (caespitose). The
flowering stems (culms) are 1-3 m tall, and are initially green but cure to shades of
purple and gold later in the year; this gives the plant its most common name. The leaf
blades are 5-10 mm wide, and the lower ones typically have long hairs (villous). The
flowering stems are topped with a digitate cluster of 3 or more racemes giving the
plant it’s other common name, “turkey foot”. The axis of the raceme is jointed and the
entire inflorescence disintegrates when the seeds are shed, leaving no obvious
flower stalks.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of A. gerardii in the state.
This plant is most easily confused with little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), which Occurrences are shown in white.
differs from big bluestem in that it is much shorter (up to 1 m) and it has racemes singly
located along the stem rather than in a terminal cluster.

“Turkey-foot” inflorescence

Little bluestem with racemes
distributed along the stem

Shattered inflorescence with but a
few florets remaining

Ecological Notes
Big bluestem is a dominant cover plant of prairies and it is an occasional component of Fire-dependent Forests. It is present only in forests of
the northwestern, central, and southern floristic regions* of Minnesota, which share in common the fact that the forests have developed in
areas that were formerly prairies or brushlands. As a forest plant, it occurs on sandy outwash plains and sandy lacustrine deposits that are
excessively to somewhat excessively drained. Mean synecological scores for 50 forested sample plots with big bluestem are: M=1.8, N=2.6,
L=3.9.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
P hotos by J .R . Manha rt, Te xa s A&M
Apocynum androsaemifolium L. h Spreading dogbane h APOCYNACEAE
Apocynum androsaemifolium is one of thre e comm on species of Apocynum that occur
in Minnesota. It is native to nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen
Parklands, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands,
Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and the
Paleozoic Plateau.

A. androsaemifolium is a perennial herb with spreading branches and a tough,
fibrous, and mostly erect stem 10-5 0 cm tall. It has opposite leaves that are p etiolate
and more or less droop ing, oblong-lanceolate to ovate, comm only 3-8 cm in length.
Sm all pink or white, bell-sha ped flowers dro op fro m stalks in the leaf axils. When the
stems or leaves of this plant are broken, a milky, white juice oozes out.

This plant is mo st easily con fused with two other mem bers in the genus, A.
cannabinum and A. sibiricum, which differ from spreading dogbane by having a strong Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of A. androsaemifolium in the state.
central stem (not spreading), erect flowers, and their habitat preference for open areas Occurrences are shown in white.
rather than forests. The milky juice makes it easy to distinguish this species from similar
looking species such as honeysuckles.

Milky sap

Pink, bell-shaped flowers
Ecological Notes
Spreading dogbane is a common plant of Fire-dependent Forests and occurs less often in Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most often
encountered in the northwest and central floristic regions of the state* and is occasional in the northern region and rare in the southern
region. It can occur on any landform and on mineral soils of any texture. Soil drainage classes where this plant occurs range from excessive
to somewhat poor. The main habitat requirement of this plant is disturbance and cycles of canopy removal. Historically, forest fires created
these conditions where spreading dogbane would form large colonies after a fire and persist in much lower abundance following canopy
closure. Mean synecological scores for 486 forested sample plots with spreading dogbane are: M=2.2, N=2.7, L=3.0.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Aralia racemosa L. h Spikenard h ARALIACEAE
A. racemosa is one of three species of Aralia that occur in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines and the Paleozoic Plateau. It is found rarely in the North Central Glaciated Plains,
Red River Valley, Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, and Northern Minnesota & Ontario
Peatlands.

A. racemosa is a stout perennial herb up to 2 m. in height. Pinnately compound leaves
are few, widely spreading, up to 80 cm in length. Leaflets are ovate up to 15 cm in length
with a sharply often doubly serrate margin. Inflorescence is a large panicle with numerous
umbels. Fruit is dark purple.

A. racemosa would be most easily confused with wild sarsaparilla, A. nudicaulis, or ginseng,
Panax quinquefolium. Wild sarsaparilla differs by having leaves and flower stalks that arise
directly from the rhizome (scapose) compared to spikenard, which has leafy stems and Primary (black) and secondary
inflorescences arising from the aerial stem. Ginseng differs by having a palmately (grey) ranges of A. racemosa in the
compound leaf rather than the pinnately compound leaf of spikenard. Spikenard is usually state. Occurrences are shown in
white.
several times taller than either wild sarsaparilla or ginseng when found growing together.

Young fruits
and white flowers

Ecological Notes
Spikenard is a common plant and indicator of Mesic Hardwood Forests, occurring infrequently in Wet Forests and rarely in Fire-dependent Forests & Woodlands.
It occurs in all floristic regions* of Mesic Hardwood Forests. Its preferred habitat is fine-textured, rich soils developed on till or loess-capped bedrock. Soil
drainage on sites with spikenard is generally well-drained, ranging to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 419 forested sample plots with
spikenard are: M=2.5, N=3.7, L=1.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng h Bearberry h ERICACEAE
A. uva-ursi is the only species of Arctostaphylos that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to nine
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, and rarely in the Western Superior Uplands, Red River Valley,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

A. uva-ursi is a prostrate shrub forming dense mats up to 1 m. wide. Leaves are
evergreen, oblanceolate to oblong-ovate 1 - 3 cm, coming to a tapering base. The flower is
pink-tinged and “urn” shaped 4 - 6 cm. The berry is a bright red berry up to 1cm in
diameter.

A. uva-ursi is not easily confused with the upland members of its family.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. uva-ursi in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Flower

Fruits
Ecological Notes
Bearberry is a common indicator of dry, Fire-dependent Woodlands. It occurs in both the Northern and Central floristic regions* of these woodland ecosystems. It
occurs on outwash plains, sandy lacustrine plains, and rocky areas with little soil. The soils are excessively drained or somewhat excessively drained and have
little horizon development (entisols), lacking any horizons capable of perching snowmelt or rainfall. Mean synecological scores for 92 wooded sample plots with
bearberry are: M=1.8, N=1.9, l=4.0.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Arisaema triphyllum ( L.) Schott h Jack-in-the-pulpit h ARACEAE
Arisaema triphyllum is one of two species of Arisaema that occur in Minnesota. It is
native to nine ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Minnesota & Iowa Moraines, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Southern Superior Uplands, Western
Superior Uplands, Paleozoic Plateau, North Central Glaciated Plains, everywhere but
the Red River Valley.

A. triphyllum is a perennial herb 30-60 cm tall. Mature, fertile plants have one or two
apparently basal leaves with three terminal leaflets on long petioles. The central
leaflet is rhombic ovate and the laterals are asymmetric and directly opposite. The
leaf veins run parallel from the midrib to a collective margin vein. The unusual flower
consists of a leafy spathe (the “pulpit”) which surrounds a central column (spadix) of
either male flowers (“Jack”) or female flowers (“Jill”). The spathe is colored green and
striped green and brown. Jill-in-the-pulpits produce bright red berries up to 1cm in
diameter in the fall. Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. triphyllum
Fertile specimens of this plant are not easily confused with anything else due to its in the state. Occurrences
distinctive flower, which persists throughout the season. Its closest relative, A. draconitum, shown in white.
is restricted to floodplain forests of southeastern Minnesota and
they have 7-13 leaflets and a long-acuminate spathe. Seedlings
and sterile plants closely resemble immature trilliums, which lack
the marginal vein and have symmetic leaflets arranged at 120
degrees from each other.
Assymetric lateral leaf with marginal vein

Sterile nodding trillium
with symmetric leaflets
and no marginal vein

Ecological Notes
Jack-in-the-pulpit is a common plant of rich Mesic Hardwood Forests and it is occasional in Wet Forests and Floodplain Forests. This plant is found in all floristic
regions* of the state. It occurs mostly on fine-textured soils, especially those with silty surfaces. Such soils occurr commonly on loess-covered landforms, alluvial
plains, and on till where surface erosion has concentrated fine particles. Individuals are sexually plastic. Populations are predominantly sterile or males in poor
habitats, and in richer habitats populations are predominantly female. Mean synecological scores for 495 forested sample plots with jack-in-the-pulpits are:
M=2.7, N=3.8, L=1.8.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Asarum canadense L. h Wild ginger h ARISTOLOCHIACEAE
Asarum canadense is the only species of Asarum that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to all
10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains and the Paleozoic Plateau. It is found rarely in the Red River
Valley.

A. canadense is a creeping, colony-forming perennial herb. Rhizomes are shollow and
aromatic. Leaves are broad, cordate-rotund to cordate-reniform with pubescence,
especially on the long petiole but becoming glabrate above. A short peduncled red-brown
flower forms between the two leaves. Fruit is a many-seeded capsule. Blooms April to June.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. canadense
in the state. Occurrences are
shown in white.

Individual with flower in foreground Photo: Dennis W. Woodland, University of Wisconsin Wild ginger colony

Ecological Notes
Wild ginger is a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests, and is found occasionally in Wet Forests. It occurs in all floristic regions* of these forest ecosystems.
It occurs on many landforms with a variety of parent material textures, but within sites wild ginger is usually in local habitats where the soils are fine-textured and
moist. Soil drainage for sites with wild ginger are usually well-drained or moderately well drained, ranging to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological
scores for 549 forested sample plots with wild ginger are: M=2.6, N=3.7, L=1.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Aster laevis L. h Smooth aster h ASTERACEAE
Aster laevis is one of 30 species of A ster w hich occur in M innesota. It is native to
seven eco logical sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Mo raines, North Centra l Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and the Red River Valley.
It is seldom found in the Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands.

A. laevis is an upright perennial from 30 cm to 1 m tall. The greyish-gree n leaves are
thick and firm, variable in size but the larger ones are over 1 cm wide. The lower leaves
are stalked and the upper one s clasping. This plant has blue flowers in the late
summer to early fall. This plant commonly occurs only as basal leaves. These leaves
feel succulent and tacky to the touch (rubbery), and when ru bbed against a pant-
leg, will “shine up” as a result (like an apple would).

This plant is mo st easily con fused with the many other species of Aster in the Section.
The co mbination of dry, sandy ha bitat and unique feel of the basa l leaves is fairly
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
reliable for field identification of smooth aster. To learn more about asters in Minnesota, ranges of A. laevis in the state.
consult: Rosendahl, C.O . and A. Cronq uist. 19 49. The asters of Minnesota: Occurrences are shown in black.
a floristic study. American Midland Naturalist 44:502-512.

Blue flowers
Basal leaves (left center) and a plant that will flower (upper right)

Ecological Notes
Smooth aster is predominantly a plant of upland prairies, but it occurs in rather open Fire-dependent Forests. It has high fidelity for sites that
historically burned often and rather severely. It is most widespread in the southern and northwestern floristic regions* of the state and occurs
frequently in the central floristic region. It prefers sandy soils developed on outwash or sandy lacustrine deposits. Soil drainage for sites with
this plant are excessively or somewhat excessively drained. Such soils lack subsoil horizons that can perch water or snowmelt, making them
droughty and prone to fires. Mean synecological scores for 52 forested sample plots with smooth aster are: M=1.7, N=2.0, L=3.9.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Aster lateriflorus (L.) Britt. h Side-flowering aster h ASTERACEAE
Aster lateriflorus is one of 30 species of Aster that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to nine
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

A. lateriflorus is a perennial forb arising from a short, stout rhizome or caudex. It can have
multiple stems up to 1.3 m in height that are curly-villous to glabrous. The leaves are
slightly hairy or glabrous. Lower leaves are ovate to sub-rotund and petiolate. Upper
leaves are sessile and broadly linear or lanceolate, 5 cm - 15 cm in length, leaves of the
branches are much smaller. Flower heads can be many, with white rays and purplish
disks. It flowers August through October.

Asters are a difficult taxonomic group and A. lateriflorus could be confused with several of Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of A. lateriflorus in
our species with white ray flowers. The combination of terrestrial habitat, purplish disk flowers, the state. Occurrences are
leaves that are not cordate not clasping and not petiolate, plants often branched and shown in white.
spreading, and the characteristic flowers borne on bracted shoots from the axils of large
stem leaves is sufficient to identify a plant in Minnesota as A. lateriflorus or A. ontarionis. The pubescent underside of the leaves
(not just the mid-rib) , creeping rhizomes, and strong affinity for riparian habitats are properties of A. ontarionis that are not
shared with side-flowering aster.

Flowers on
bracted shoots
from leaf axils
White rays and purplish disks
Branching habit of side-flowering aster Photo: Hugh H. Iltis, University of Wisconsin

Ecological Notes
Side-flowering aster is predominantly a plant of wet-mesic Hardwood Forests, but can occur in any forest on mineral soils including Fire-dependent Forests, Wet
Forests, and Floodplain Forests. It occurs on almost any landform and soils of any texture. It is a rather good indicator of somewhat poorly drained soils within
stands that range from well-drained to very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 371 forested sample plots with side-flowering aster are: M=2.8, N=3.2,
L=2.5.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Aster puniceus L. h Red-stemmed aster h ASTERACEAE
Aster puniceus is one of 30 species of Aster which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is native to all
10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northe rn M innesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake
Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines, North Centra l Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozo ic Pla teau. Rarely is it found in
the Red River Valley.

A. puniceus is a large, branched perennial plant 40-70 cm tall. When grown in the open,
it has a red to purple-colored stem from which its common name is derived. When grown
in shade, the stem is green until fall. In either case, it is beset with a cha racteristic
covering o f coarse ha irs. The leaves are smooth or hairy, toothed or toothless, and
clasp the stem. The flowers are pale blue to purple, appearing late in the growing
season.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
This plant is mo st easily con fused with the many other species of Aster in the state. The ranges of A. puniceus in the state.
combination of wet, mucky habitat, distinctive coarse hairs on the stem, and clasping Occurrences are shown in white.
leaves is fairly reliable for field identification of red-stemmed aster. To learn more about
asters in Minnesota, consult: Rosendahl, C.O. and A. Cronquist. 1949. The Asters of
Minnesota: a floristic study. American Midland Naturalist 44:502-512.

Coarse hairs on stem

Blue ray flowers
Ecological Notes
Red-stemmed aster is a common plant of Rich Forested Peatlands, Wetland Forests, Open Rich Peatlands, and Wet Meadows. It can occur
in local wet habitats within Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most often encountered in the northwestern and central floristic regions*. It is
occasional in the northern and southern floristic regions. It occurs on any landform and on soils of any texture as long as the local habitat is
semiterrestrial. Such sites are saturated in the spring but eventually dry during the growing season; preventing the formation of deep peats.
Soil drainage is typically very poor, but this plant can occur on somewhat poorly drained sites. Mean synecological scores for 232 forested
sample plots with red-stemmed aster are: M=3.4, N=2.5, L=3.2.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth h Lady-fern h POLYPODIACEAE
Athyrium filix-femina is one of 3 species of Athyrium which o ccur in M innesota. It is
native to all 10 ecological sections* of the state: common in the Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Mo raines. Lady-F ern is uncom mo n on the Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, North
Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and the Red River Valley.

Athyrium filix-femina is a single-bladed (bipinnate, not divided like bracken) fern that
grows in circular clusters. The shape of the blade is variable but usually widest at, or
just below the middle. The leaflets (pinnae) are lance-shaped with pointed tips
(lanceolate/acum inate). The bottom two pinnae are definitely shorter than the
middle ones. When present, the individual spore-clusters (sori) are elongate and
covered with a ciliate flap (indusium ) that is attached along a vein. The base of the
stem has dark-brown to black ish bracts.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of A. angustum in the state.
This fern is most-likely to be confused with spinulose shield-fern, Dryopteris Occurrences are shown in white.
carthusiana, because they commonly occur together. Shield-ferns differ in having
lower pinnae that are nearly as wide as the middle ones, rounder sori, and golden bracts on the base of the stem. Lady-ferns co-
occur with other m em bers of the genus, A. pycnocarpon and A. thelypteroides, only in extreme southeastern Minnesota. A.
pycnocarpon looks nothing like lady-ferns in that it is once-pinnate with entire pinnae. A. thelypteroides, too, is less divided
(pinnate pinnatifid) than lady-ferns, and it also differs in having scales along the rachis and midnerves of the pinnae.

Dark-brown or blackish bracts.

Elongate sori on lower surface.
Ecological Notes
Lady ferns have high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests and Wetland Forests. They occur only rarely in Rich Forested Peatlands and Fire-
dependent Forests. They are most often encountered in the central and southern floristic regions* of the state. They are occasional in the
northern region, and are infrequent in the northwestern region. They prefer fine-textured soils developed on till, but can occur on sandier soils
if they are moist. Soil drainage of sites with this plant are well drained to somewhat poorly drained. Large colonies tend for form locally where
surface erosion has concentrated fine soil particles and nutrients: toes of slopes and local depressions. Mean synecological scores for 1,025
forested sample plots with lady ferns are: M=2.6, N=3.4, L=2.1.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Betula Alleghaniensis Britt. h Yellow birch h BETULACEAE
Betula Alleghaniensis is one of five species of Betula that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
and the Paleozoic Plateau.

B. Alleghaniensis is a medium sized tree up to 30 m in height. Leaves are ovate-lanceolate
to ovate-oblong 6 to 10 cm. in length, having a coarsely and sharply toothed margins.
The bark is a yellowish grey with a satiny luster, exfoliating in thin plates. When twigs are
crushed they have the taste and aroma of wintergreen. Catkins are sessile, or nearly so,
ovoid or shortly cylindric, 2 to 3 cm in length.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of B. Alleghaniensis
in the state. Occurrences are
shown in white.

Gray peeling bark
with golden tones

Leaves and twig Pistillate catkin

Ecological Notes
Yellow birch is a common tree of rich Mesic Hardwood Forests and Wet Forests. It is an indicator of the Northern floristic region* of these forest ecosystems. At
its western extent in Minnesota, it has a strong affinity for well to moderately well-drained silty soils within till plains and some lacustrine plains. At its eastern
extent, it occurs mostly on somewhat poorly drained mineral soils to very poorly drained organic soils on any landform that can perch water. Mean synecological
scores for 380 forested sample plots with yellow birch are: M=2.9, N=3.2, L=2.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Betula glandulifera (Regel) Butler h Bog birch h BETULACEAE

Betula glandulifera is one of five species of Betula that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen P arklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern S uperior Uplands, W estern Superior Uplands, and the Minnesota
& NE Iowa Moraines. It occurs seldom in the North Centra l Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic
Plateau, and R ed R iver Valley.

B. glandulifera is a erect, branching shrub 1-4 m tall, with brown bark. Leaves a re
small, 2-3 cm long, obovate, and with a dentate margin. The leaves a re slightly hairy
when young, and become hairless (glabrescent) later in the season. The cylindrical
catkins are 1 -2 cm long and have peduncles 5-10 m m long.

The dwarf stature of this plant and its sm all lea ves distinguish it from all other birches in
Minnesota. Bog birch commonly occurs with speckled alder, and small individuals of Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
these species can be con fused in winter. The pistillate catkins of bog birch sh atter late in ranges of B. glandulifera in the state.
the season, losing their scales; whereas the correspond ing catkins of rough alder are Occurrences are shown in white.
woody and persistent a s sm all “cones”.

Bog birch in flower

Dentate leaves and mature female catkins
Ecological Notes
Despite its name, bog birch occurs infrequently in true bogs of Acid Peatlands. It is common in Rich Peatlands as an associate with tamarack
or it provides the dominant cover in Open Rich Peatlands (photo above). Bog birch’s affinity is strongest in the northwestern floristic region*
and decreases as one moves into the northern, central, and southern floristic regions. In the Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, it may occur in
Fire-dependent Wet-mesic Aspen Forests. The soils are typically peatly or mucky. Less often, bog birch occurs on wet mineral soils. Soil
drainage is very poor to poor on sites with bog birch. Mean synecological scores for 178 forested sample plots with bog birch are: M=4.0.
N=1.7, L=4.1.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Field p hotos : Univ ersity o f Wis cons in
Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw. h Rattlesnake-fern h OPHIOGLOSSACEAE
Botrychium virginianum is one of 17 species of Botrychium which occur in Minnesota. It
is nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and Paleozoic Plateau.

B. virginianum is an erect, perennial fern 20-75 cm. tall. The leaves are divided into two
parts, a photosynthetic part (trophophore) and a spore-bearing part (sporophore). The
trophophore is a three-parted triangular blade, 2-3 times divided. The sporoph ore
appears as an elongation of the trophophore stem and bea rs at its end a spore
cluster consisting of numerous, yellow, rounded, grape-like spo rangia which e merge in
late M ay.

Although a m em ber of a large, taxon om ically com plex ge nus, rattlesnake-fern is ea sily
distinguished from other Botrychiums. The combination of its large size, deltoid blade Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
(trophophore), the thin lacy blade, and sporophore arising high on the stalk is sufficient ranges of B. virginianum in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
to identify it in the field. Ste rile individuals superficially resemb le sweet-cicely, but
examination of the veination should reveal that it is a fern.

Spo roph ore

Ecological Notes
Rattlesnake fern is a common and widespread plant in Mesic Hardwood Forests. It occurs infrequently in Fire-dependent forests, Wetland
Forests, and Rich Forested Peatlands. It occurs in all floristic regions* of the state. Most occurrences are on fine-textured soils developed
on till. Sites with rattlesnake fern are usually well-drained, but range to somewhat poorly drained. Rattlesnake ferns are entirely mychorrizal
and are dependent upon their fungal symbionts and a rich layer of duff for water and nutrients. Mean synecological scores for 698 forested
sample plots with rattlesnake ferns are: M=2.6, N=3.5, L=2.0.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Brachyelytrum erectum (schreb.) Beauv h Bearded shorthusk h POACEAE

Brachyelytrum erectum is the o nly m em ber o f its gen us in M innesota. It is native to
seven ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Northern Superior Uplands, Southern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines, Paleozo ic Pla teau, and the Western Superior Uplands. It is found only
occasionally in the North Central Glaciated Plains.

B. erectum is a perennial grass from knotty rhizomes with short internodes, forming
loose tufts. It is 50-100 cm tall and has broad (8-16 mm ) pubescent blades 8-18 cm
long. Leaf sh eath s are noticea bly p ubescent in th e field . The seeds are in loose,
few-flowered panicles and have long straight awns.

For the expert, this grass is distinctive and not easily confused with others in Minnesota.
For the novice, the most distinctive feature of this plant is its habit of retaining the base
of past flowering culms. These old culms snap off at the first node above the ground
and persist in a loose tuft of white, bam boo-like, stubs.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of B. erectum in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Pubescent leaves, collar & sheath

Inflorescence showing
long awns

Living (green) culms at base and past culms
(white) snapped at first node

Ecological Notes
Bearded shorthusk is a forest grass with high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests of the northern, central, and southern floristic regions*. It
occurs rarely in Wetland Forests. It occurs mostly on well-drained and moderately well drained, fine-textured soils. These soils most often
have developed on till, fine alluvium, or loess-covered landforms. Mean synecological scores for 381 forested sample plots with bearded
shorthusk are: M=2.5, N=3.5, L=2.0.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Caltha palustris L. h Marsh marigold h RANUNCULACEAE
Caltha palustris isone of two species of Caltha that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

C. palustris is a hollow stemmed aquatic plant of 20 to 60 cm. in height. Branching
begins near the top of the stem. The lowest leaves are long petioled and get progressively
shorter petioled as one reaches the uppermost. Flowers are bright yellow on short or
elongate peduncles. Blooms in April and May.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of C. palustris in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Ecological Notes
Marsh marigold is a common plant of Wet Forests and Forested Rich Peatlands as well as Open Peatlands and Wet Meadows. It occurs in all floristic regions of
these ecosystems. There is no strong affinity for landforms or soil texture as long as the water table is high or the land can perch water. Soil drainage is poor to
very poor on sites with marsh marigold and the surface is generally mucky. Mean synecological scores for 410 forested sample plots with marsh marigold are:
M=3.7, N=2.4, L=3.3.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Carex intumescens Rudge h Bladder sedge h CYPERACEAE
Carex intumescens is one of 136 species of Carex which occur in Minnesota. It is native
to all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, rarely in the North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and the
Red River Valley.

C. intumescens is a an erect perennial with hairless flowering stems (culm s). F em ale
(pistillate) and male (stam inate) flower spikes are separate. Usu ally there are 1-3 fem ale
spikes clustered together beneath a single male spike. The sacks surrounding the
seeds (perigynia) are larg e (10 -16 m m long), inflated, and taper to a b eak.

This large genus is a taxonomic challenge for most people, but within this section, there
are no other sedges that look like C. intumescens. The best app roach for field managers
is to simply collect specimens and compare them to herbarium sheets until they become Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
confident. For dedicated individuals, the definitive work for Minnesota is Wheeler, G.A. ranges of C. intumescens in the state.
1981. Carex of Minnesota. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota. Occurrences are shown in white.

Clumped growth Inflated perigynia
Ecological Notes
Bladder sedge is a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests and Wetland Forests. It is common in the northern and central floristic regions
of the state* and occurs sparingly in the northwestern and southern floristic regions*. It occurs on any landform and on soils of any texture as
long as the habitat is moist. Sites where this plant occurs have well-drained to very poorly drained soils; however, bladder sedge is a good
indicator that local microsites are somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 285 forested sample plots with bladder sedge
are: M=2.9, N=3.1, L=2.3.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems and co pies of this d ocum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Carex pedunculata Muhl. ex Willd h Peduncled sedge h CYPERACEAE
Carex pedunculata is one of 136 species of Carex which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is
native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

C. pedunculata is a low and tufted plant. The leaves are dark green, stiff, and taper
abruptly to a point (acuminate). The leaf bases are clearly purple-tinged. The long-
peduncled spikes are characteristically of varying lengths and are often concealed
within a “cushion” of leaves. It flowers early in late April to May, and the flowering-stalks
quickly whither making it difficult to find fruits in the summer.

This large genus is a taxonom ic challenge for most people. In Minneso ta, field
identification with some experience can be fairly accurate based upon its tufted growth-
form , non-fibrou s purple-tinged bases, apparent lack of flowering culms by June, and its Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
affinity for hardwood forests. The definitive work for sedges in M innesota is: Wheeler, ranges of C. pedunculata in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
G.A. 1981. Carex of Minnesota. PhD . Dissertation, University of M innesota.

Tufted growth-form Purple-tinged bases
Ecological Notes
Peduncled sedge is a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests and has high fidelity for that system. It occurs rarely in Wetland Forests and
Fire-dependent Forests. It is encountered most often in the northern, central, and southern floristic regions.* It prefers fine-textured soils
developed on till. Locally, it has the strong tendency to grow on microsites that are a mixture of rotting wood and mineral soil: tree bases, tip-
ups, well-decomposed logs. Sites where this plant occurs are usually well-drained but can range to somewhat poorly drained. Mean
synecological scores for 518 forested sample plots with peduncled sedge are: M=2.6, N=3.5, L=2.0.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Carya cordiformis (Wang.) K. Koch h Bitternut hickory h JUGLANDACEAE
Carya cordiformis is one of two hickories that occur in Minnesota. It is native to five
ecological sections* of the state: m ost co mm on as a tree in the Paleozoic Plateau, a
common seedling in the Western Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota & Iowa
Moraines, an d the North Central Glaciated Plains, but only occasional in the Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains.

C. cordiform is is a tree with grey scaly b ark o n the bo le and smooth bark with ligh t-
grey, intertwined ridges on tops and smaller branches. They have continuous pith and
alternate, pinnate leaves. Typically there are 7-9 leaflets, with the three terminal
leaflets larger than the others. Most distinctive is the large, golden-yellow terminal
bud and golden axillary buds which gives this tree its alternate common name,
“yellowbud hickory”. The fruit is ovoid and somew hat flattened.

This plant is mo st easily con fused with sha gbark hickory, C. ovata. Shagbarks tend to
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
have just 5 leaflets, do not have golden-yellow buds, and mature shagbarks have large ranges of C. cordiformis in the state.
bark plates that sep arate an d cu rl away fro m the bole to make it look shaggy. Occurrences are shown in white.

Golden-yellow buds

Mature bark

Mature bark of
Shagbark
hickory Mature green fruits and seed

Ecological Notes
Bitternut hickory occurs almost entirely in Mesic Hardwood Forests of southern Minnesota and fire-tolerant deciduous forests of the
Paleozoic Plateau; this connects it primarily with the southern floristic region and secondarily with the central floristic region*. It occurs
mostly on fine-textured soils that are well to excessively well drained. Such sites tend to be very rich, but not very moist. The soils tend to
have dark surface horizons that indicate a former vegetation of prairie or brushland. This tree is a curiosity in that its seedlings are
widespread and abundant, yet very few survive to become saplings or trees. Anectdotal explanations include decreasing shade-tolerance
with age and winter-dessication of their large buds when they try to emerge above a protective blanket of snow. Groves of hickories may
owe their origin to pockets of oak wilt where they are released by the death of overstory oaks. Apparently they are widely disseminated by
squirrels and blue jays, in spite of the fact that they find the bitter nut-meats unpalatable. Mean synecological scores for 258 forested sample
plots with bitternut hickory are: M=2.5, N=4.4, L=1.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document contact: John C.
Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Photos of leaves and bud: Texas A&M, bark and fruit: Virginia Tech
Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx. h Blue cohosh h BERBERIDACEAE
Caulophyllum thalictroides is the o nly species of Caulophyllum in Minnesota. It is native
to nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspe n Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

C. thalictroides is an erect, glabrous perennial herb 30-75 cm tall. Technically, a normal
plant has two sessile leaves one at mid-stem and another below the inflorescence, but
these leaves are so highly divided that they app ear to be a whorl of biternately
compoun d leaves. The leaflets are egg-shaped with 2-5 lobes, resembling those of
me adow-rue, Thalictrum, giving its specific name. Early flowers are yellow-green or
purplish in a branching terminal cluster (cyme), appearing in April to June. Technically a
fruit doesn’t develop – instead, the seeds expand to rupture the ovary wall and they
develop with a blue, fleshy, glaucous coat.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
This plant is mo st often confused w ith early meadow rue, Thalictrum dioicum, which ranges of C. thalactroides in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
shares the spreading growth-form of blue cohosh. Plants with fruits are easily
distinguished as Thalictrum prod uces dry seeds (achenes) rather tha n a fleshy fruit. Sterile individuals are more difficu lt to
separate , but blue co hosh has larger leaflets with coa rser te eth and a whitish (glaucus) stem. In the field, a good approach is to
spend some time searching a colony for individuals having fruits and comparing them with the sterile plants.

“Rue-like” leaflets

Flowers
Unripened fruit

Ecological Notes
Blue cohosh is a plant with high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most often encountered in the southern and central floristic
regions* of the state, and it is occasional in the northern floristic region. It prefers fine-textured soils developed on till or loess. Locally,
colonies are best developed where surface erosion has deposited some fine soil particles and where nutrients tend to accumulate. It is a
good indicator of nutrient rich soils. Sites where blue cohosh occurs have a rather narrow range of soil drainage. Most are moderately well
drained or well drained. Mean synecological scores for 301 forested sample plots with blue cohosh are: M=2.5, N=4.3, L=1.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Chamadaphne calyculata (L.) Moench h Leatherleaf h ERICACEAE
Cham adaphne calyculata is the o nly species of Chamadaphne that occurs in Minnesota.
It is native to six ecolo gica l sections* of the state: N orth ern Minneso ta & Ontario
Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines.

C. calyculata is a low-g row ing, alternate-b ranche d evergreen shrub 20-50 cm tall usua lly
forming dense colonies. Its leaves are ob long or elliptic 1-5 cm long, covered below
with scales th at are often gold and give m ature leave s a golden-brown color. A
peculiar ch aracteristic of leatherleaf is that the leaves are often erect above the new
branchlets (se cund) and gradually dim inish in size towards the tip of the branch.
Its sepals are ovate to lanceolate, acute, obtuse or short-acuminate. The flowers are
white, urn-shaped flowers typical of the heath family. The fruits are a red dish cap sule
often with an elo ngate, s om ewhat persiste nt style.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of C. calyculata in the state.
This plant is most easily confused with other m em bers of the heath fam ily, especially Occurrences are shown in white.
blueberries. The affinity of leatherleaf for peatlands and its tendency to form dense colonies
will separate it from most of these other heaths. The tendancy of leatherleaf to have steadily
diminishing and some what secund leaves on new grow th is a reliable field character for this plant.

Leatherleaf capsules and persistent styles

Leatherleaf in flower showing also golden scales and
Leatherleaf colony diminishing leaf size on new branchlet
Ecological Notes
Leatherleaf is a common, cover-forming half-shrub of Acid Peatlands and occurs less often and at lower abundance in Rich Peatlands. It
forms dense colonies in open peatlands and is much less abundant beneath a canopy of tamarack or black spruce. It occurs only in
peatlands of the northern floristic region* of Minnesota. The soils where this plant occurs are organic peats derived from Spagnum mosses
and they are very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 191 forested sample plots with leatherleaf are: M=4.4, N=1.3, L=4.5.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho tos: Un ivers ity of W iscon sin
Chimaphila umbellata (L.) Bart. h Pipsissewa h PYROLACEAE
Chimaphila u mb ellata is the o nly species of Chimaphila that occurs in M inneso ta. It is
native to six ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

C. um bellata is a low , pere nnial, evergree n half-shrub arising from a creeping rhizome .
The leaves are thick and o blanceo late 3-6 cm in length, sharply dentate towards the
summ it and nearly entire below the middle and tapering to a short petiole. The flowers
are white or pink and form few-flowered um bels throughout the summ er. The dried
fruiting stalks are persistent, with those of the past year(s) evident in any season.

This plant is mo st easily con fused with shinleaves of the genus, Pyrola. The shinleaves
differ by having roun d leaves, elongate styles, and racemes of flowers. Also,
pipsissewa has loose “whorls” of leaves separated by a long internode, whereas a ll Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
shinleaves in M innesota (except P. secunda) have very short internodes making the ranges of C. umbellata in the state.
leaves appear to be all ba sal. Occurrences are shown in white.

Pipsissewa flower
with short styles

Pyrola rotundifolia,
note round leaves
and long, drooping styles.

Ecological Notes
Pipsissewa is a good indicator plant of Fire-dependent forests. This plant can be found in all floristic regions* of the state, although rarely in
the southern. It typically occurs on sandy soils derived from outwash or shallow lacustrine deposits that may be reworked as dunes. Less
often, it occurs on shallow-to-bedrock soils of the Northern Superior Uplands and the Paleozoic plateau. The soils, whether sandy or rocky,
are somewhat excessive or excessively drained and they lack any subsoil horizon that can perch water near the surface. Mean
synecological scores for 146 forested sample plots are: M=2.1, N=2.0, L=3.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Photos : Arne An derberg
Cicuta maculata L. h Spotted water-hemlock h APIACEAE
Cicuta maculata is one of two species of Cicuta which occur in Minnesota. It is native to
all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen P arklands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and
the Red River Valley. It is less common in the Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands
and the Northern Superior Uplands.

C. m aculata is an erect, highly branche d plant 60-200 cm tall. The stem is mottled
purple and leaves are twice (or thrice) compound with lance-shaped, toothed leaflets
which have veins that terminate in the notches of the teeth. The inflorescence is a
dome-shaped cluster (umbel) of small white flowers that bloom from June through
Sep tember.

This plant could be confused with other members of the umbel family. The combination
of a true umbel, twice-compound leaves, leafy (not filiform) serrate leaflets, glabrous Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
fruits, and w hite flow ers is u sually adequate for field iden tification. Its nearest relative , C. ranges of C. maculata in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
bulbifera, has very narrow leaflets (approach ing filiform ) and is u sua lly beset with “bublets” in
the upper leaf axils.

White flowers in umbel

Twice-compound leaf

Ecological Notes
Spotted water-hemlock is a common plant in Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wetland Forests, and Floodplain Forests. It is encountered most
often in the northwestern, central, and southern floristic regions* of the state. It is a good indicator of moist mineral soils, regardless of
landform and soil texture. Sites with this plant are typically poorly drained, but range from somewhat poorly drained to very poorly drained.
Where one finds large colonies of this plant, it often indicates that the fine-textured soils have been compacted by heavy equipment or by
grazing animals. Animals generally avoid this plant because all parts are extremely poisonous. Mean synecological scores for 132 forested
sample plots with spotted water-hemlock are: M=3.0, N=3.2, L=2.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Clintonia borealis (Ait.) Raf. h Bluebead lily h LILIACEAE
Clintonia borealis is the o nly species of Clintonia that occurs in M innesota. It is native to
six ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains Section,
Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, Southern Superior Uplands, and rarely in the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

C. borealis is a perennial herb coming from a rhizome. Two to five basal leaves
sheath a central scape upon which is found a few-flowered umbel. Its leaves are a
glossy green up to 30 cm in len gth with a long-ciliate m argin. The scape is 15 -40 cm tall,
usually pubescen t at the summ it early and becom ing glabrous at maturity. The flowers
are yellow-green and nodding, typically numbering between 3 and 8. The blue fruit is
distinctive and is what give s this plant its com mo n name of “Blue bead lily”.

This plant could be confused with orchids and leeks in early spring that also have large
basal leaves that emerge from the litter tightly rolled. The long-ciliate leaf margins of
bluebead lily are usua lly quite evide nt at this time. The fruitin g stalks of past yea rs’ Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
bluebead lilies and orchids can usually be found with some searching and they look ranges of C. borealis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
nothing alike. Leeks are e asily ide ntified in spring by their chara cteristic smell.

Bluebead lily flowers

General habit

Long-ciliate margin
Bluebead lilies in fruit

Ecological Notes
Bluebead lilies are one of the most widespread plants in Minnesota forests. It is a good indicator of the Northern floristic region*, tending to
occur mostly in areas that have been forested for a long time (>4,000 years). It occurs on almost any landform and on soils of any texture.
Most often it is found on well-drained soils, but its range is from somewhat exessively drained soils to somewhat poorly drained. Mean
synecological scores for 967 forested sample plots with bluebead lillies are: M=2.6, N=2.7, L=2.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Photos top center and top right Eleanor S. Saulys, Connecticut Botanical Society.
Coptis groenlandica (Oeder) Fern. h Goldthread h RANUNCULACEAE
Coptis groenlandica is the only species of Coptis that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to
seven ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines.

C. groenlandica is an erect perennial herb, spreading from a slender rhizome and growing up
to 15 cm tall. Leaves are basal, evergreen and ternately compound. The flower is white
arising from a peduncle blooming in May thru June. The rhizome has a distinct gold color
lending to the common name of “Goldthread”.

Synonymous with Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb.

Evergreen basal leaves
Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of C. groenlandica in
the state. Occurrences are shown
in white.

Flower

Golden rhizome
Fruits

Ecological Notes
Goldthread occurs commonly in Fire-dependent Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wet Forests, and Forested Rich Peatlands. It is an indicator of the Northern
floristic region* of these ecosystems. It is associated with coniferous tree cover and a ground cover of mosses. There is no strong correlation with landforms or
soil textures. Soil drainage for sites with goldthread are predominantly somewhat poorly to very poorly drained, but it occurs occasionally on somewhat
excessively drained soilsl. In all cases, the sites are poor and mossy. Mean synecological scores for 284 forested sample plots with goldthread are M=3.3, N=2.2,
L=3.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Cornus canadensis L. h Bunchberry h CORNACEAE
Cornus canadensis is one of 6 species of Cornus that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz, Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines
and the Paleozoic Plateau.

C. canadensis is a colony forming perennial, spreading by rhizomes and reaching heights
of up to 20 cm. Leaves appear in whorls of 4 or 6, with 1 to 2 pairs of scales or smaller
foliage leaves below. Leaf shape is lanceolate to oblanceolate, acute at both ends. Lateral
veins produce a silky thread when the leaf is snapped at a right angle and spread, this
is a characteristic of all dogwoods. The single, solitary flower-cluster is on a short
peduncle surrounded by white bracts. It flowers in June and July and produces a bright red
berry cluster.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of C. canadensis in
the state. Occurrences are
shown in white.

Bunchberry in fruit

Flowers with white bracts Silky threads of broken leaf

Ecological Notes
Bunchberry is a widespread plant occurring in Fire-dependent Forests & Woodlands, wet-mesic Hardwood Forests, Wet Forests, and Forested Rich Peatlands. It
is an indicator of the Northern and Northwestern floristic regions of these ecosystems, occurring rarely in the Central and Southern floristic regions. It has no
strong affinity for particular landforms or soil textures. Soil drainage on sites with bunchberry ranges from excessivy drained to very poorly drained ... the full
range possible. Mean synecological scores for 784 forested sample plots with bunchberry are: M=2.8, N=2.3, L=3.0.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Corylus americana Walt. h American hazelnut h BETULACEAE
Corylus americana is one of two species of Corylus that occur in Minnesota. It is native
to 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Asp en Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, Paleozoic Plateau, but only occasionally in the North Central Glaciated
Plains and the Red River Valley.

C. americana is a shrub 1-3 m tall. Its young twigs and petioles are more or less
pubescent with stiff gland-tipped hairs that are usually reddish. The leaves are
broadly ovate with a finely, double serrate margin. Involucral bracts are pubescent but
not bristly and tightly surround the nut, form ing a leafy frill where they meet.

This plant is most easily confused with beake d haze lnut, especially when sterile. In this
condition, the stiff gland-tipped hairs that stick straight out (squarrose) from the twigs of
American hazel distinguish it from beaked hazelnut, which has soft, downy, appressed
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
hairs on its twigs. The involucral bracts of beaked hazelnuts form distinctive b ristly ranges of C. americana in the state.
friuts with a long beak rathe r than fruits with a lea fy frill. Occurrences are shown in white.

Pubescent friuts
with marginal frill

Bristly fruits
of beaked hazelnut

Stiff, spreading
gland-tipped hairs
on young twigs
and petioles

Ecological Notes
American hazelnut is a widely distributed terrestrial shrub that thrives in habitats where surface fires were frequent, but not severe.
Historically, it often dominated brushlands and woodlands along the prairie/forest border in Minnesota. In the southern and central floristic
regions*, it tends to occur in the drier habitats of the landscape. In the northern and northwestern floristic regions it tends to occur in wetter,
terrestrial habitats. It is most frequent in Fire-dependent forests, but may occur in Mesic Hardwoods and Wetland Forests. It can occur on
almost any terrestrial landform and on a wide range of soil textures. Soil drainage ranges from excessive to somewhat poorly drained. Within
the northern floristic region, it occurs much less frequently than beaked hazelnut, and sites with abundant American hazelnut are often old
Indian camps or early settlements. Mean synecological scores for 465 sample plots with American hazelnut are: M=2.3, N=3.3, L=2.6.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Photo on left: University of Wisconsin.
Corylus cornuta Marsh. h Beaked hazelnut h BETULACEAE
Corylus cornuta is one of two species of Corylus that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspe n Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, and Paleozoic P lateau. It is rare in the Red R iver Valley.

C. cornuta is a shrub 1 -3 m tall. Its you ng tw igs an d petioles are sm ooth or with soft,
downy, appressed hairs when young. The leaves are broadly ovate with a finely, double
serrate margin. The involucre is densely bristled toward the base, closely surrounding
the nut and protruding beyond it to form a long, slender beak.

This plant is mo st easily con fused with Am erican hazelnut, especially when sterile. In
this condition, the stiff gland-tipped hairs that stick straight out (squarrose) from the
twigs of American hazel distinguish it from beaked hazelnut. The involucral bracts of
beaked hazelnuts form distinctive bristly fruits with a long beak unlike American Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
hazelnuts which ha ve fruits with a leafy involucral frill. ranges of C. cornuta in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Bristly fruits with long beaks

American hazelnut fruits with leafy
involucral frill

Ecological Notes
Beaked hazelnut is a widely distributed terrestrial shrub that is common in Fire-dependent Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, and Wetland
Forests (not peat). It tends to be a plant of closed-canopy forests in contrast to its counterpart, American hazelnut, which is most abundant
in open brushland, woodlands, and riparian forests. Beaked hazelnut can be found in any of the floristic regions* of the state. It can occur
on almost any terrestrial landform and on a wide range of soil textures. Soil drainage ranges from excessive to somewhat poorly drained.
Mean synecological scores for 1388 forested sample plots with beaked hazelnut are: M=2.4, N=2.9, L=2.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Danthonia spicata L. Beauv. h Poverty grass h POACEAE
Danthonia sp icata in the only species of Danthonia found in M innesota. It is native to
eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands,
and the Western Superior Uplands. It is found rarely in the Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, or Paleozoic Plateau.

Danthonia sp icata is a perennial grass up to 60 cm in height. Its has a tufted growth-
form (cespitose ) wh ich is not always obviou s in large colo nies. A distinctive feature is
the accumu lation o f past-years blades at the base of the plant – the old blades
becoming twisted into loose corkscrews. The se eds tend to be rather persistent in
the florets and one can usually find at least a few remaining on the plant through
August. The twisted awns of the seeds tend to stick out at about a sharp angle,
and often turn black where they bend later in the growing season.

This is a rather distinctive grass. The combination of old, twisted blades at the base, Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of D. spicata in the state.
awns that stick out of the florets side -wa ys, a nd its affinity for very dry habitats is usua lly Occurrences are shown in white.
sufficient for field iden tification. The best source for becom ing m ore fa miliar w ith Minnesota
grasses is: Allison, H. 19 59. Key to the grasses of Minneso ta found in the wild or com monly
cultivated as crops, Department of Botany, University of Minnesota.

Curly blades at the base

Awns protruding
from spikelets

Separate seed
showing blackened
bend in awn

Cespitose (tufted) growth-form
Ecological Notes
Poverty grass has very high fidelity for Fire-dependent Forests and Woodlands. It is common in the northwestern, central, and northern
floristic regions* of the state. It occurs mostly on coarse-textured soils developed on outwash sands or sandy lacustrine deposits.
Alternatively, it occurs on coarse sandy till that is shallow-to-bedrock. In either case, the soils lack any subsoil horizons that can hold
snowmelt or rainfall. This makes them droughty and very prone to fires. Soil drainage for sites with this plant range from excessively
drained to somewhat poorly drained, however, poverty grass will be on microsites that become very dry by late summer. Mean
synecological scores for 148 forested sample plots with poverty grass are: M=2.0, N=2.1, L=3.6.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Desmodium glutinosum (Muhl. ex Willd) Wood hPointed-leaved tick trefoil hFABACEAE
Desmodium glutinosum is one of five species of Desmodium that occur in Minnesota. It
is native to six ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, Western Superior Uplands, and the Paleozoic Plateau.
It is only occasional in the North Central Glaciated Plains and the Lake Agassiz Aspen
Parklands.

D. glutinosum is a perennial herb 10-40 cm in height. It has a strong central stem and
alternately a rranged, compoun d leaves that cluster near the middle of an aerial
stem. Beyon d the leave s, the stem is prolonged and terminates into a terminal panicle
30-80 cm in len gth. There are three leaflets; the latera l leaflets are asymmetrically
ovate, the term inal le aflet is rou nd-ovate, a bout as wide a s lon g, an d distinctly
pointed (acuminate). The flowers are 6-8 mm long. The stipe of the fruit is between
6-12 mm in length; however, it is jointed between each seed to create triangular or
sem i-ovate “ticks ”. At maturity, the stipe fragments, and allows the individual ticks,
beset with velcro-like hairs, to stick to animals or pant-legs. Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of D. glutinosum in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
This plant could be confused with several members of the pea family. The combination
of being herbaceous, upright (not twining), having trifoliate-compound leaves clustering near the middle of the stem, and
especially the strongly constricted fruit that shatters to form “ticks” is good evidence that it is Desmodium. Within the genus, there
are b ut two in Minnesota that have term inal leaflets tha t are d istincty d ifferent from the laterals, D. glutinosum and D. nudiflorum.
For the latter, the terminal leaflet is noticeably longer than wide and the flowering stalk is separate from the leafy one, arising
from the base of the plant.

Leaves clustering near middle of plant
and terminal leaflets as wide as long
and acuminate-tipped.

Fruits (legumes)
constricted to stipe,
forming semi-ovate
or triangular “ticks”
Ecological Notes
Pointed-leaved tick trefoil is a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests and dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests. This plant has a strong
affinity for the central and southern floristic regions* of Minnesota, both of which were formerly prairie or brushland before the development
of the modern forests. It occurs on a variety of landforms, and soil texture varies from silty loess to coarse gravelly till. The consistent soil
features for sites with this plant are good soil drainage (excessive to well drained) and high base saturation. The foliage and fruits of this
plant are beset with stiff, hooked hairs that were the inspiration for velcro fasteners. Mean synecological scores for 321 forested sample
plots with pointed-leaved tick-trefoil are: M=2.3, N=4.0, L=1.9.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho tos: Un ivers ity of W iscon sin
Dirca palustris L. h Leatherwood h THYMELACEAE
Dirca palustris is the o nly species of Dirca that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to eight
ecological sections* in the state: Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Minnesota &
NE Iowa Moraines, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Paleozoic Plateau,
Southern Superior Uplands, and the W estern Superior Uplands. It is only o ccasion al in
the North Central Glaciated Plains and Northern Superior Uplands.

D. palustris is a branched sh rub with jointed stems and tough bark growing 1-2 m eters
in height. Its leaves are b roadly oblong obovate with an entire margin. They are
glabrous upon maturity and have petioles 2-5 mm in length. In Minnesota, the leaves
are com mo nly yellow-spotted by mid-sum me r. The yellow flow ers are am ong the first to
appear in spring. They a re 7-10 mm long with the stam ens that protrude approxima tely
3 mm. The coming season’s buds are actually found within the current year’s petiole;
they are revealed as lea ves are e ither pulled o ff or shed in the fall.

This plant is not easily confused with any other in M inneso ta. The stem is incredibly Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of D. palustris in the state.
flexible and branches can be tied into knots. Stripped bark is almost impossible to break Occurrences are shown in white.
by hand. Leaf scars, which en circle the whole twig, are also diagnostic.

Leaf scars encircle the twigs

Leatherwood fruits

Ecological Notes
Leatherwood is a shade-tolerant shrub with very high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It occurs only in the northern and central floristic
regions* of the state on sites that have historically been forests since deglaciation. It occurs on well to moderately well drained, fine-
textured soils derived from till. These soils have a subsoil horizon that effectively perches snowmelt in the spring, effectively holds rainfall,
but drains readily. All parts of this plant are poisonous, expecially extracts of the fruits which are reported to have both emetic and narcotic
qualities. Strips of bark can be woven to make tough flexible lashings. Anectdotally, the blooming of leatherwood in the spring is said to
signal the end of the maple syruping season. Mean synecological scores for 264 sample plots with leatherwood are: M=2.3, N=3.7, L=1.8.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho to of fruits: U nivers ity of W iscon sin
Epigaea repens L. h Trailing Arbutus h ERICACEAE
Epigaea repens is the only species of Epigaea that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to four
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior
Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains and the Western Superior Uplands.

Epigaea repens is a prostrate, creeping evergreen plant growing up to 40 cm in length.
The alternate leaves are ovate or oblong, up to 10 cm. long, have an entire margin, and are
more or less pilose, especially when young. The stem beset with rufous hairs. Flowers
are pink to white and fragrant on crowded, terminal, axillary spikes. Blooms April and May.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of E. repens in
the state. Occurrences are
shown in white.

Colony

Inflorescence and rufous hairs on prostrate stem

Ecological Notes
Trailing arbutus is an indicator plant of dry Fire-dependent Forests & Woodlands. It occurs only in the Northern floristic region* of this forest ecosystem. It has an
affinity for red and jack pine stands with a feathermoss groundlayer. It occurs on sandy or gravelly soils of outwash plains and sandy lacustrine plains. The
excessively or somewhat excessively drained soils have little horizon development (Entisols) and are not capable of perching snowmelt or rainfall. Mean
synecological scores from 40 forested sample plots with trailing arbutus are: M=2.0, N=1.9, L=3.6.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Eriophorum spissum Fern. h Tussock cottongrass h CYPERACEAE
Eriophorum spissum (E. vaginatum L.) is one of seve n species of Eriophorum that occur
in Minnesota. It is native to six ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and only rarely in the
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

E. spissum is a pe renn ial sedge of 20-7 0 cm that grows in dens e tufts (caespitose)
often with 20-30 flowering culms. The leaf blades are narrow and round ed (filiform),
about 1 m m w ide. The culm has 1 or 2 dialate d leafless sheaths. The spike is solitary,
subtended by 10-15 sterile, blackish scales with white margins. Normally the bristles
are snow-wh ite.

This plant is most easily confused with other cottongrasses. In Minnesota there are but
two cottongra sses with solitary heads, but one must loo k closely in the field to
distinguish plants with a single head from those with multiple heads separated by very Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
short intern odes. E. chamissonis is the other cottongrass with a sing le head and it ranges of E. spissum in the state.
differs from E. spissum in having rusty bristles, and it is not strongly tufted. Occurrences are shown in white.

Tussock cottongrass showing a typical tussock Single heads
Ecological Notes
Tussock cottongrass is a plant with high fidelity for Acid Peatlands. It is most abundant in open bogs and canopy gaps in black spruce
bogs. It occurs only in the northern floristic region* of Minnesota. The soils are very poorly drained organic soils, developed on Sphagnum
peat. The pH of the interstitial water is <4.5. Mean synecological scores for 77 forested sample plots with tussock cottongrass are: M=4.5,
N=1.1, L=4.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Eupatorium maculatum L. h Spotted joe pye weed h ASTERACEAE
Eupatorium maculatum is one of six species of Eupatorium that occur in M inneso ta. It is
native to all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and
the Red River Valley.

E. maculatum is a fibrous-rooted perennial herb 60-200 cm in height. The stem is green
with purple speckles and sometimes becom ing purplish throughout. Its leaves are in
wh orls of 4 or 5, lanceolate or lance-oval shaped, and with short petioles. The leaf
margins are sharply and coarsely serrate. The inflorescence is nearly flat-topped with
9-22 light pu rple, disk flowers in each head.

This plant is mo st likely to be confused with sweet joe pye weed, E. purpureum. Sweet
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
joe pye weed has a solidly purple stem, far fewer flowers (5-7 per head), foliage that
ranges of E. maculatum in the state.
smells like vanilla when crushed, and a dome-shaped rather than flat-topped Occurrences are shown in white.
infloresence.

Inflorescence
and whorled leaves

Spotted stem

Ecological Notes
Spotted joe pye weed is a common plant of Wetland Forests, Rich Peatlands, and Wet Meadows. It is most abundant in open habitats, but
persists in canopy gaps of wetland forests. It occurs across the state, but is less common in the northern floristic region*. It occurs on both
wet mineral soils and in peatlands; however, large colonies are usually a good field indicator that the peat is shallow. Mean synecological
scores for 117 forested sample plots are: M=3.5, N=2.5, L=3.2.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
P hotos : t op tw o, Texas A&M
Galium triflorum Michx. h Sweet-scented bedstraw h RUBIACEAE
Galium triflorum is one of 12 species of Galium that occur in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

G. triflorum is a slender stemmed perennial herb which grows prostrate or reclined
upon other herbage. The leaves are found in whorls of six, narrowly elliptic to
oblanceolate, usually 2 - 6 cm in length. The greenish-white flowers axillary from the
principal leaves or terminal. The peduncles are simple and three-flowered or repeatedly
divided and many-flowered. It flowers from June though August.

G. triflorum is most easily confused with other species of Galium. G. asprellum, which also
has leaves in whorls of six, can be distinguished by its annual habit, more spreading
Primary (black) and secondary
growth, and long hooked bristles on its stems and leaves. Other similar species are
(grey) ranges of G. triflorum in the
restricted to wetlands and G. triflorum is predominantly an upland plant. state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Ecological Notes
Sweet-scented bedstraw is a widespread plant occurring most often in Mesic Hardwood Forests, but it also occurs is Fre-dependent Forests & Woodlands, Wet
Forests, Floodplain Forests and rarely in Forested Rich Peatlands. It occurs in all floristic regions* of Minnesota. There is no strong affinity for particular landforms
or soil textures. Soil drainage on sites with this plant range from excessively drained to very poorly drained ... the full range possible. Mean synecological scores
for 1,447 forested sample plots with sweet-scented bedstraw are: M=2.7, N=3.0, L=2.4.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Bigel. h Creeping Snowberry h Ericaceae
Gaultheria hispidula is one of two species of Gaultheria that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
seven ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines

G. hispidula grows prostrate, 20 - 40 cm long. It is very leafy and has distinctive brown-gold
bristles on the stems and leaf undersides, especially when young. Leaves are short petioled,
broadly elliptic, 5 - 10 mm long , smooth above. The flowers are few, on recurved pedicles,
blooming from May to June. The fruit is white, about 5 -10 mm long with a mild wintergreen
taste.

The leaves and berries of this plant have traditionally been used to make teas, jams and jellies,
however they should not be consumed in quantity for they contain a chemical which can be Primary (black) and secondary
poisonous when taken in large doses. (grey) ranges of G. hispidula in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and cranberries (V. oxycoccos, V. macrocarpon) might white.
be confused with creeping snowberry. All of these species have red fruits, narrower leaves,
and lack the distinctive gold-brownn bristles of creeping snowberry.

Typical colony

Golden bristles on stem and underside of leaves

Ecological Notes
Creeping snowberry is a common plant of Forested Rich Peatlands and Acid Peatlands, and occurs rarely in poor Fire-dependent Forests and coniferous Wet Forests.
It is an indicator of the Northern floristic region* of these forest ecosystems. Its preferred substrate is very poorly drained Sphagnum peat, but can occur within mats
of feathermosses as well. Mean synecological scores for 216 forested sample plots with creeping snowberry are: M=3.8, N=1.6, L=3.8.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Gaultheria procumbens L. h Wintergreen h ERICACEAE
Gaultheria procumbens is one of two species of Gaultheria which occur in Minnesota. It
is na tive to six ecologica l sections* of the state: N orth ern Minneso ta & Ontario
Peatlands, Northern S uperior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern
Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and very rarely in the Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines.

G. procumbens is a erect, semi-woody, evergreen plant 5-15 cm tall. Its leathery, oval
leaves are entire, o r with so me cu t edges. Its white, bell-shaped flowers bloom in April
and M ay and are just above leaf axils in groups of 2 or 3. The fruit is bright red berry
with a white pulp. Both th e fruit and leave s have a wintergree n taste.

This plant is mo st likely to be confused with fringed polyg ala, Polyga la paucifolia. Fringed
polygala is an herbaceous plant, with a ring of hairs on along the border of the upper leaf
surface, and lacks the wintergreen taste. Wintergreen’s close st relative, Gaultheria
hisp idula, differs in being prostra te, has much smaller lea ves, and tends to be limited to Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of G. procumbens in the state.
peatlands with Sphagnum moss. Occurrences are shown in white.

White flowers

Ecological Notes
Wintergreen has very high fidelity for Fire-dependent Forests and Woodlands. Rarely it will occur in Rich Forested Peatlands or Acid
Peatlands on dry microsites like Sphagnum hummocks or tree bases. It is common in the central and northern floristic regions* of the state.
It occurs mostly on coarse-textured soils developed on outwash sands or sandy lacustrine deposits. Alternatively, it occurs on coarse
sandy till that is shallow-to-bedrock. In either case, the soils lack any subsoil horizons that can hold snowmelt or rainfall. This makes them
droughty and very prone to fires. Soil drainage for sites with this plant range from excessively drained to well drained. Mean synecological
scores for 238 forested sample plots with wintergreen are: M=2.0, N=2.1, L=3.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Geranium maculatum L. h Wild geranium h GERANIACAE
Geranium maculatum is one of thre e species of Geranium that occur in M inneso ta. It is
native to four ecological sections* of the state: Paleozoic Plateau, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Mo raines, and the We stern Superior U plands. It occurs rarely in the Northe rn M innesota
Drift & Lake Plains.

G. maculatum is a erect perennial herb 20-55 cm tall arising from a stout rhizome which
sends out long-petioled basal leaves 5-15 cm wide. The basal leaves are grey-green
and cut deeply into five, toothed lobes. The stem leaves are smaller and shorter
petioled. Few to many lavender flowers arise in loose clusters from May to June. Flower
petals are 12-15 mm long. The specialized fruit is erect and has a long beak (2-3 cm),
which is the feature described by the common name for all geraniums, “cranesbills.” Upon
maturity, the fruit carpels separate and curl away from the base of a central column
but remain attached at their apex.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
This plant is mo st easily con fused with the two other mem bers in this genus. G. b icknellii ranges of G. maculatum in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
and G. carolinianum differ from wild geranium in that they are annual plants and have much
smaller leaves 2-7 cm wide and much smaller flowers with petals 2-4 mm long. Both of these
species occur in dry, sandy open areas, and G. b icknellii is known as a common annual to
arise following forest fires. In co ntrast, wild geran iums occur almost exclusively in shady,
mature hardwood stands on fine-textured soils.

“Cranesbill” fruit

Divided basal leaf

Ecological Notes
Wild geranium has high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests, ocurring rarely in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests, Floodplain Forests, and
Wetland Forests. It is a good indicator of the central and southern floristic regions*, rarely co-occurring with northern plants. It is found most
often on rich, fine-textured soils developed on loess, till, or alluvium. Sites with wild geraniums are usually well drained or moderately well
drained. Mean synecological scores for 304 forested sample plots with wild geranium are: M=2.5, N=4.2, L=1.6.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Photos: Univ ersity o f Wis cons in
Impatiens capensis Meerb. h Spotted touch-me-not h BALSAMINACEAE
Impatiens capensis is one of two species of Impatiens that occur in M inneso ta. It is
native to nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minneso ta & NE Iowa M oraines, North Centra l Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozo ic
Plateau.

Impatiens capensis is an ann ual herb 50-100 cm high. The stem is glabrous and
branch ed above . The leave s are so ft and pale-green, ovate to elliptical w ith a crenately
serrate margin. The inflorescence consists of widely separated racemes. The bright
orange, irreg ular flow ers are pendant fro m long pedicels. Upon maturity the
ripened capsules will “explode” along longitudinal sutures when brushed or disturbed
by strong winds, sen ding the seeds flying. This trait is reflected in the com mo n name .

This plant is mo st likely confused with its close relative , I. pallida. Both plants are Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
annuals, and for much of the early growing season they are not reliably separated on ranges of I. capensis in the state.
vegetative characters. In M innesota forests, I. pallida is rare or unknown north of Occurrences are shown in white.
She rburne, Isanti and W ashington counties. When in flower, I. pallida is easily
distinguished by its yellow flow ers and m uch shorter floral spu rs.

I. pallida with
yellow flower
and short spur

Colony of seedlings, note cotyledons

Seedlings Mature fruit, ready to explode
when touched Pendant orange flower with long spur

Ecological Notes
Spotted touch-me-not is a good indicator of wet habitats anywhere in Minnesota. It occurs in wet-mesic Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wetland
Forests, Rich Peatlands, Floodplain Forests, and Wet Meadows. It is an annual plant with a large seed bank that can form large colonies
on saturated soils. When in apparently upland habitats, local colonies often indicate some groundwater seepage. I. capensis is found in all
floristic regions* of the state. This plant can occur on any landform and on soils of any texture as long as it is wet. Soil drainage classes
where it occurs range from moderately well to very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores from 404 forested sample plots with spotted
touch-me-not are: M=3.1, N=3.4, L=2.3.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Photos: Texas A&M (close-ups)
Laportea canadensis (L.) Wedd h Wood nettle h URTICACEAE
Laportea can adensis is the o nly species of Laportea that occurs in Minnesota. It is native
to 9 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspe n Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

L. canadensis is a 50 -100 cm tall, alternate leaved, herb. Leaves are long petioled and
broa dly ovate, pubescent, strongly feather-veined, and with a coarsely serrate margin.
The male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are in separate inflorescences
on the same plant. The staminate flowers are in cymes from lower leaf axils and shorter
than the petioles. The pistillate flowers are in large cymes from the upper leaf axils and
are very elongated and spreading. The plant is beset with clear, stinging hairs.

This plant is mo st easily con fused with other stinging nettles, Urtica dioica. Stinging
nettles have opposite, lanceolate leaves. Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of L. canadensis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Young wood nettles

Feather-veined leaves

Ecological Notes
Wood nettles are a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests, Floodplain Forests, and some Wetland Forests. They are most widespread
in the central and southern floristic regions*, and limited mostly to riparian habitats within the northern floristic region. Wood nettles are
widespread on rich fine-textured soils of alluvial terraces and water-washed till plains. Locally, they seem to favor microhabitats where there
is some siltation. The soils where this plant occurs range from well drained to very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 286
forested sample plots with wood nettles are: M=2.8, N=4.3, L=1.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho to on left: U nivers ity of W iscon sin
Ledum groenlandicum Oeder. h Labrador-Tea h ERICACEAE
Ledum groenlandicum is the only species of Ledum that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to
seven ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

L. groenlandicum is a shrub up to one meter in height, with densly fuzzy twigs. The dark
green lanceolate leaves are 2 - 5 cm in length with edges rolled down (revolute). The above
surface of the leaves is slightly villous when young, becoming glabrate with age; the
undersides are densly villous-tomentose. Flowers are white about 1 cm wide, blooming in
June and July.

Primary (black) and
secondary (grey) ranges
of L. groenlandicum in the

Leaf underside and revolute margin

Inflorescence Fuzzy twig

Ecological Notes
Labrador tea is a common plant of Forested Rich Peatlands and Acid Peatlands, and occurs rarely in poor Fire-dependent Forests, coniferous Wet Forests, and
some Open Peatlands. It is an indicator of the Northern and Northwestern floristic regions* of these ecosystems. Its preferred substrate is very poorly drained
Sphagnum peat, but extends into poor mossy habitats of adjacent uplands. Mean synecological scores for 514 forested sample plots with creeping snowberry
are: M=4.1, N=1.5, L=4.2.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Linnaea borealis L. h Twinflower h CAPRIFOLIACEAE
Linnaea borealis is the o nly species of Linnaea that occurs in M innesota. It is native to
seven eco logical sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Southern Superior Uplands,
Western Superior Uplands, and the North ern Minneso ta Drift & L ake Plains. It is rare in
the M innesota & NE Iow a Moraines.

L. borealis is a trailing or creeping evergreen plant with a stem that is somewhat
woody. Vertical shoots from the reddish prostrate stem are 3-10 cm tall. The leaves a re
short petioled and are broadly oval to obovate. A good field character is that the leaves
exhibit a wide range of sizes on the same vertical shoot. The inflorescence consists of
a slender vertical, peduncle and two short pedicels each terminated with a single flower
to form a set of “twins”. The pink or white flowers are nodding and subtended by
densely glandular bractlets.

Once o bserved, this plant is not easily confused with others . Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of L. borealis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Prostrate stem
& variable leaf size

“Twinflowers”

Ecological Notes
Twinflower is a common plant of Fire-dependent Forests, occurring infrequently in Rich Forested Peatlands and Wetland Forests. This
plant has a strong affinity for the northern floristic region* of the state. It occurs mostly on nutrient-poor, coarse-textured soils developed on
outwash or till; especially till that is deposited shallowly over bedrock. Soil drainage for sites with twinflower covers the entire spectrum from
excessively drained to very poorly drained. However, in the wetter habitats, it is common to see twinflower colonies on dry microsites such
as tree bases, tip-ups, and moss-covered rocks. The soils rarely have subsoil horizons that perch snowmelt or rainfall, meaning that they
dry very early in the growing season. Mean synecological scores for 431 forested sample plots with twinflower are: M=2.8, N=2.0, L=3.2.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho to of flowe r: Univ ersity o f Wis cons in
Lycopodium dendroideum Michx. h Round-branched groundpine h LYCOPODIACEAE
Lycopodium dendroideum is one of Minnesota’s 10 species traditionally placed in the
genus, Lycopodium. It is native to seven eco logical sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz
Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands,
Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, and rare in the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

L. dendroideum, also know n as Princess Pine, is an e vergreen , non-flowering plant.
Colonies of this plant emanate from a deep-seated system of rhizomes and the
individual vertical shoots resemble – according to some – miniature pine trees 10-20
cm tall. Often 1-3 spore-bearing cones terminate the upper branches. The branches
are b ristly, beset with needle-like “leaves” (microph ylls). Microphylls along the central
stem stick straight out (squarrose).

In Minnesota there are b ut two lycopods that re sem ble m iniature tree s, L. dendroideum
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
and L. obscurum var. isophyllum. The latter d iffers from round-branche d ground pine in
ranges of L. dendroidium in the state.
that the microphylls along the central stem are ascending and appressed to the stem. Occurrences are shown in white.

“Leaves” along main stem stick out

Ecological Notes
Round-branched groundpine is a terrestrial plant common in Fire-dependent Forests and Mesic Hardwood Forests. This plant has a strong
affinity for the northern floristic region* of the state. It occurs mostly on coarse-textured soils developed on outwash or till – especially till
that is deposited shallowly over bedrock. Soil drainage for sites with round-branched groundpine ranges from somewhat excessive to
somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 382 forested sample plots with round-branched groundpine: M=2.5, N=2.7,
L=2.5.
* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Ma in pho to: Univ ersity o f Wis cons in
Matteucia struthiopteris (L.) Todaro h Ostrich fern h POLYPODIACEAE
Matteucia struthiopteris is the o nly na tive species of Matteucia that occurs in Minnesota.
It is native in nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Northe rn M innesota Drift & L ake Plains, Minnesota
& NE Iowa Moraines, Paleozoic Plateau, and occasional in the North Central Glaciated
Plains.

M. struthiopteris is a terrestrial fern with sterile fronds up to 1.7 m long. The sterile fronds
are oblong-lanceolate, with leaflets (pinnae) that gradually taper to the base until they
are very sm all. The pinnae are sub-opposite, in pairs up to 20. The pinnae are deeply
pinnatifid with 20 or more pair-segments. Fertile fronds are contracted, not over 70 cm
high, and look nothing like the sterile fronds. They are coarse, dark and rigid with pinnae
not over 5 cm long.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
For the novice, this plant is most easily confused with two other large ferns that often co- ranges of M. struthiopteris in the state.
occur with ostrich ferns, lady ferns and cinnamon ferns. Lady ferns share the property of Occurrences are shown in white.
pinnae tapering to the base, but the lowest are not nearly as small as ostrich ferns. Lady
ferns also bear sporangia on fronds that are little differentiated from sterile blades. Cinnamon ferns share both the diminishing
length of pinnae and separate fertile fronds. The lowest pinnae of cinnamon ferns are not as small as those of ostrich fern and
the sterile blades are beset with wooly, cinnamon-colored pubescence that is lacking in ostrich ferns.

Sterile fronds and one fertile frond (right, dark brown) Base of sterile frond showing decreasing pinnae lenth to base, the lowest
Ecological Notes miniatures of middle pinnae
Ostrich ferns are common in Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wetland Forests and Floodplain Forests. It occurs in all floristic regions* of the state,
but it is most common in the central region. It occurs on many terrestrial landforms and on mineral soils of varying texture. Colonies seem to
be best developed in local low spots where surface erosion has deposited some fine-textured material. Soil drainage on sites with ostrich
ferns ranges from well drained to poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 162 forested sample plots with ostrich ferns are: M=2.8,
N=3.8, L=1.9.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Menispermum canadensis L. h Moonseed h MENISPERMACEAE
Menispe rmum can adensis is the o nly species of Menispermum that occurs in
Minnesota. It is native to eight ecological sections* of the state: N orthe rn M innesota
Drift & L ake Plains, Western Superior Uplands, Southern S uperior Uplands, M innesota
& NE Iowa Moraines, Paleozo ic Pla teau, and the North C entral G lacia ted Plains. It rarely
occurs in the R ed R iver Valley or the L ake Agassiz Aspen Parklands.

M. canadensis is a woody vine, climbing 2-4 m high. Its leaves are slender-petioled
and broadly ovate to nearly orbicular and 10-15 cm wide. The leaf margin is s hallowly
3 to 7 lobed to entire. The flowers are unisexual, and born on plants that are either
male or female. The fruit is blu ish-black, 6 -10 mm in diam eter, and co ntains a sing le
hard seed that is crescent-shaped – hence the nam e.

This plant could be confused with other vines such as wild grapes, Virginia creeper, or
hops; but all of these have serra te leaf margins.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of M. canadensis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Typical leaf

Female flower

Male flower

Ecological Notes
Moonseed is a common plant of Mesic Hardwood Forests in the southern floristic region*, and in all Floodplain Forests. It occurs on very
rich, fine-textured soils developed on alluvium, loess, or less often, till. Sites with moonseed have soils that are described as well drained to
poorly drained that are usually in riparian settings. Such settings share in common spring flooding, a persistently high water table, and they
tend to be sinks for nutrients. In Minnesota, vines in general are more abundant in habitats with unlimited water and nutrients at depth, but
low levels of light. Mean synecological scores for 80 forested sample plots with moonseed are: M=2.8, N=4.5, L=1.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho tos: Un ivers ity of W iscon sin
Menyanthes trifoliata L. h Buckbean h GENTIANACEAE
Menyanthes trifoliata is the only species Menyanthes that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to
eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota
& Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

M. trifoliata is a perennial herb growing in marshes and bogs across N. American and
Eurasian boreal regions. The trifoliate leaves are alternate, all forming near the base of
the flowering stem. The inflorescence is a terminal raceme of white to pink which flowers
with highly ornamented petals making them appear fuzzy. Flowers in May and June.

Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of M. trifoliata in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Inflorescence and young fruits
Photo: James R. Sime, University of Wisconsin

Trifoliate basal leaves

Ecological Notes
Buckbean occurs in Forested Rich Peatlands, Acid Peatlands, and Open Peatlands. It is most extensive in the Northern and Northwestern floristic regions* of
these ecosystems and occurs infrequently in Southern Forested Rich Peatlands. Its preferred habitat is very poorly drained peat, and is absent from mineral soil
communities. Mean synecological scores for 199 forested sample plots with buckbean are: M=4.6, N=1.4, L=4.6.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Mitella nuda L. h Naked miterwort h SAXIFRAGACEAE
Mitella nuda is one of two species of Mitella that occur in Minnesota. It is native to seven
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines.

M. nuda is a low-g row ing, perennial, rhizom atous h erb. Its leave s are usua lly all basa l,
heart-shaped, obscurely lobed, and with a crenate margin. When held to the sun, the
upper surface of the basal leaves show regularly spaced hairs that stick straight up.
Occasionally there is a single, ovate, sessile stem (cauline) leaf. The flowering stems are
5-20 cm tall, pubescent and glandular. The inflorescence is a raceme with yellowish-
green flowers 7-11 mm wide. The petals are fea thery (pectinate-fimbriate) surrounded
by a cup -like calyx that will hold several black shiny seeds about 1 mm long.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
For the novice, the basal leaves of sterile plants could be confused with the basal leaves ranges of M. nuda in the state.
of many other plants. At least in Minnesota, the upright hairs of naked miterwort can be Occurrences are shown in white.
used to separate th em from grossly sim ilar plan ts (e.g. violets). Mitella diphylla differs by
having two, opposing cauline leaves and basal leaves with a pointed central lobe similar
to a re d maple leaf.

Basal leaf Flower with
feathery petals

Upright hairs

Ecological Notes
Naked miterwort is a common plant that occurs in Fire-dependent Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wetland Forests, and Rich Forested
Peatlands. It has high fidelity for the northern and northwestern floristic regions* of the state. It can occur on almost any landform and on
soils of any texture. The soils where naked miterwort occur range from well drained to very poorly drained, but this plant tends to occur on
microsites that are somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 462 forested sample plots with naked miterwort are: M=3.1,
N=2.6, L=2.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Large photo: U nivers ity of W iscon sin
Moneses uniflora (L.) Gray h One-flowered pyrola h PYROLACEAE
Moneses uniflora is the only species of Moneses that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to five
ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior
Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands and the
Western Superior Uplands

M. uniflora is a delicate perennial herb arising from a slender rhizome. One to four sets of
leaves are usually opposite or in whorls of three. Petioles are 5 - 10 mm in length with
suborbicular leaves 1 - 2 cm long. The flower is solitary, white, long peduncled and
fragrant about 12 - 20 mm wide.

Sterile plants of M. uniflora are most likely confused with shinleaves (Pyrola), wintergreen
(Gaultheria procumbens), or possibly gaywings (Polygala paucifolia). The shinleaves of
comparable size and wintergreen are evergreen, whereas one-flowered pyrola is herbaceous.
Gaywings have distinctive small leaves or bracts on the lower part of the stem that are not Primary (black) and secondary
present on one-flowered pyrola. Most colonies of one-flowered pyrola will have at least a few (grey) ranges of M. uniflora in the
flowering or fruiting individuals displaying their unique solitary flower or fruit, so it pays to check state. Occurrences are shown in
white.
several individuals.

Fruit

Colony of one-flowered pyrola in flower

One-flowered pyrola in fruit
Ecological Notes
One-flowered pyrola occurs in Fire-dependent Forests, Forested Rich Peatlands, and coniferous Wet Forests. It is a Northern floristic region* indicator for these
ecosystems. It has an affinity for coniferous stands with mossy substrate. It occurs mostly in poorly and very poorly drained peatlands and wet forests, but can be
found in well drained fire-dependent forests with a feathermoss groundlayer. Mean synecological scores for 81 forested sample plots with one-flowered pyrola
are: M=3.1, N=2.2, L=2.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Onoclea sensibilis L. h Sensistive fern h POLYPODACEAE
Onocle a se nsib ilis is the o nly species of Onoclea that occurs in M inneso ta. It is native in
eight ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Paleozoic Plateau, and the Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines. It is rare in the North Central Glaciated Plains.

O. sensibilis is a terrestrial fern with wide creeping rhizomes and scattered fronds. The
sterile fronds are larger than the fertile ones. The sterile blades are typically 18-35 cm
high and 20-4 0 cm wide, pinnatifid with opposite segments in pairs of up to 12. The
blade surface is glabrous but bears white hairs on the m idrib and veins.

Sensitive ferns looks like no other ferns in Minnesota.

Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of O. sensibilis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Sterile (green) fronds and fertile (brown) fronds

Ecological Notes
This fern is common in Floodplain Forests, Wetland Forests, and some Rich Peatland Forests. It occurs locally in moist microsites within
Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most frequent in the central and northern floristic regions* and is occasional in the southern floristic region. It
can occur on almost any landform and on soils of any texture. Sites where sensitive fern grows have soil drainage classes ranging from
moderately well drained to very poorly drained; however, colonies of this fern are usually on microsites that are somewhat poorly drained.
Mean synecological scores for 193 forested sample plots with sensitive fern are: M=3.1, N=3.2, L=2.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Oryzopsis asperifolia Michx. h Mountain rice-grass h POACEAE
Oryzopsis asp erifolia is one of four species of Oryzopsis which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is
native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

O. a spe rifolia is a tufted, semi-evergreen perennial, with erect leaves of the current
year and an accumulation of past years leaves lying flat at the base. The old
leaves remain green for 2-3 years, becoming brown from their tips inward. The leaf
blades are flat, usually 5-10 mm wide, and are strongly inrolled at their base. The
inflorescence is a raceme or seldom-branched panicle usually 25-30 cm tall. The one-
flowered spikelets ap pear in early spring and the large seeds soon dro p. Th e spikelets
are articulated above the glumes, meaning that the pairs of glumes tend to stay on
the plant during the summer.

This is a distinctive grass that might be confused with sedges. However, its very round Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of O. asperifolia in the state.
(not triangular) leaf bases indicate that it is a grass. The flowering culms are persistent Occurrences are shown in white.
and almost always present. In the field, these can usually be found with the old glumes
still attached and gaping at about a 60-degree angle. It nearest relative is O. pungens,
differs by being a smaller plant, and its leaves are rolled to the very tip, lacking any flat parts.

Tufted growth-form showing new upright blades and past blades on ground Inflorescence with old, gaping glumes

Ecological Notes
Mountain rice-grass is one of the most widespread forest plants of northern Minnesota. It is very abundant in Fire-dependent Forests and
Mesic Hardwood Forests, but very rarely occurs in wetland systems. It occurs throughout the northwest, central, and northern floristic
regions* of the state. It can occur on any landform and on soils of any texture. Soil drainage classes for sites with this plant range from
excessively drained to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores from 1,136 forested sample plots where mountain rice-grass
occurs are: M=2.3, N=3.0, L=2.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Osmorhiza claytonii (Michx.) Clarke h Clayton’s Sweet Cicely h UMBELLIFERAE
Osmorhiza claytonii is one of four species of Osmorhiza that occurs in Minnesota. It is native
to all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake
Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

O. claytonii is an erect perennial herb rising on a slender villous-pubescent stem, 40 - 80
cm in height. The leaves are twice ternately compound, hairy, the lower one petioled and
the upper ones subsessile. Flowers are white blooming May to June. The distictive fruit is
oblong, 20 - 24 mm in length tapering into an attenuate beak at the apex.

All of Minnesota’s Osmorhizas are similar in appearance and differentiated by technical
characters. For the purpose of site classification, O. chilensis and O. obtusa are sufficiently
rare that they can be ignored, occurring only in Cook county. O. claytonii and O. longistylis Primary (black) and secondary
overlap in range and ecology and can be found together in the same stands. The field (grey) ranges of O. claytonii in the
characters of a smooth, often purplish stem and crushed leaves that smell like anise set O. state. Occurrences are shown in
white.
longistylis apart from O. claytonii, which has a hariy stem and leaves not usually smelling
of anise. The most reliable technical character separating these two is the length of the styles, persistent on the dried fruits. They
are 1.2-1.5 mm long on O. claytonii fruits and 2.5-4mm long on O. longistylis.

Persistent style

Fruit

Ecological Notes
Clayton’s sweet cicely is a common forest herb of Mesic Hardwood Forests. It occurs infrequently in Fire-dependent Forests and Wet Forests when stands are
dominated by deciduous trees. It occurs in all floristic regions* of these ecosystems. It occurs most often on fine-textured soils developed on till plains or where
loess deposits cover bedrock. Soil drainage for sites with Clayton’s sweet cicely are usually well-drained or moderately well drained, ranging from somewhat
excessive to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 991 forested sample plots with Clayton’s sweet cicely are: M=2.5, N=3.7, L=1.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Osmunda cinnamomea L. h Cinnamon fern h OSMUNDACEAE
Osmunda cinnamomea is one of thre e species of Osmunda that occur in M inneso ta. It is
native to six ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

O. cinnamomea is a an erect fern 60-120 cm tall. The blades are pinnate-pinnatafid and
dimorphic, the sterile being oblong and gradually reduced at the apex up to 30 cm wide
with sessile oblong-lanceolate pinnae in pairs num bering 15-20. Th e lower pinnae a re
slightly reduced, alternate or subopposite, up to 15 cm in length bearing a tuft of
brow nish hairs at the base. The sterile blades alm ost always hav e som e whitish to
pale c innamo n-co lored fu zz (tom entu m) a long the rac his an d the pinn ae are
ciliate with soft hairs. Fertile blades appear only in the spring, and they are found
within the crown of the sterile blades. They are brown, lacking chlorophyll and soon
whither. Sporangia are cinnamon-brown about 0.5 mm wide.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of O. cinnimomea in the state.
This plant is mo st easily con fused with sterile fronds or interrupted fern s, O. Claytoniana Occurrences are shown in white.
or pe rhap s other larg e fern s. No others have the fuzz alon g the rachis.

Fuzz along rachis

Cinnamon-colored sporangia
Ecological Notes
Cinnamon ferns occur in Wetland Forests and Rich Peatland Forests. They can occur also in local wet areas of Mesic Hardwood Forests.
They are common in the central and northern floristic regions* of Minnesota and are rare in the southern floristic region. They can occur on
any landform and on soils of any texture as long as it is wet. Commonly such sites will have mucky pools and wet wood serves as substrate
for many plants, including cinnamon ferns. Sites with this plant are usually poorly drained or somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological
scores for 126 forested sample plots with cinnamon fern are: M=3.4, N=2.5, L=2.3.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
P h oto s: J .R . M a nh ar t, T ex as A& M .
Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch h Ironwood h BETULACEAE
Ostrya virginiana is the o nly species of Ostrya that occurs in M innesota. It is native to
nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Superior
Uplands, No rthern Minneso ta Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, We stern
Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and
the Paleozoic Plateau. Rarely is it found in the Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands.

O. virginiana is a tree or tall shrub approximately 20 m tall. The leaves are alternately
arranged on slend er twigs. On new twig s, the leaves cha racteristic ally d iminish in
size from the largest leaf at the tip to a diminutive leaf at the base. The leaves a re
sharply serrate, ovate, and softly pubescent. The bark is light brown and becomes
very scaly o n the bole and limbs that are larger than abo ut 5 cm in diam eter.
Female catkins are short-cylindrical, about 3-5 cm long. These are comprised of
inflated bracts 1-3 cm, which surround a nutlet about 5 mm long. This inflorescece of
inflated bracts grossly resembles those of hop vines, hence the other common name,
hop-hornbeam . Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of O. virginiana in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.
This plant at maturity is easily distinguished fro m other M innesota trees and shrubs by its
scaly ba rk and hop-like inflorescence . However, it is m ost often enco untere d as a sterile, understory, shrub that can resem ble
quite a few other tree seedlings and shrubs. Its closest relative, blue beech Carpinus caroliniana, shares the tendency to have
leaves of diminishing size on new twigs, but differs in having leaves that are blue-green and glabrous and also in having tight
grey bark that reveals the muscled wood beneath. The soft-pubescent leaves and slender twigs set ironwood apart from young
elm s. The oldest branch es o f young birches w ill usually show the deve lopment of short shoots (like apples) which a re lacking in
ironw ood.

New branchlet showing diminutive leaf near base

Scaly bark Hop-like inflorescence
Ecological Notes
Ironwood is a very common understory tree of Mesic Hardwood Forests and close associate of sugar maple. It is strongly terrestrial,
nearly lacking from Wetland Forests and its occasional occurrence in Fire-dependent Forests is attributed to the suppression of forest fires
in recent times. It occurs commonly in the central, northern, and southern floristic regions*. It occurs on fine-textured soils developed on till
and to a lesser extent on loess-capped bedrock of southeastern Minnesota. It is a good indicator of well drained and moderately well
drained soils. Mean synecological scores of 789 forested sample plots with ironwood are: M=2.4, N=3.8, L=1.8.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Tw o left mos t phot os : T e xa s A&M
Phryma leptostachya L. h Lopseed h PHRYMACEAE
Phryma leptosachya is the only species within the family Phrymaceae. In M inneso ta it
is native to eight ecological sections*: Lake Aga ssiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands,
Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated
Plains, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

P. leptosachya is an erect perennial with slender, branching stems 30-90 cm tall. It has
coarsely toothed, opposite, ovate leaves with the lower on es being long-petioled.
Lavender to purplish flowers are arranged in a long-peduncled, interrupted, spike-like
raceme. It flowers from July through September, from the bottom to the top
(indeterm inate flowering). The flowers are spreading, but the fruits below are soon
reflexed against the stem.

No other plant in Minnesota has flowers and fruits like lopseed. Sterile lopseeds
however, strongly resemble sterile Eupatorium rugosum, which is a white-flowered Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
composite. Lopseed has fleshy (presumably mychorrizal) roots, whereas Eupatorium ranges of P. leptostachya found in the
state. Occurrences are shown in white.
has fibrous roots characteristic of most composites.

Flowers and reflexed fruits
Ecological Notes
Lopseed has high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is occasional in deciduous Fire-dependent Forests. It is most often encountered in
the central and southern floristic regions* of the state and is occasional in the northwestern floristic region. It is one of the few plants in
Minnesota to have a distribution mostly limited to the transition between the southwestern prairies and northeastern mixed coniferous forests.
It prefers any site that is nutrient rich and silty. Such conditions are often met on water-washed till, silty lacustrine plains, and loess-covered
landforms. Sites with this plant are mostly well drained. Mean synecological scores for 280 forested sample plots with lopseed are: M=2.4,
N=4.1, L=1.7.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pinus strobus (L.) h White Pine h PINACEAE
Wh ite pine is one of thre e native species of Pinus in Minnesota. It is native to all forested
ecological sections* of the state. It is most com mon in the northern sections: Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, and the Western Superior Uplands. White pine
infrequent in the Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, and the
Paleozoic Plateau.

White pine is a com mon and well-known lum ber tree of Minneso ta. It can attain heights in
excess of 120 feet and diameters over 30 inches. Its needles are slender, with a whitish
bloom (glaucous), and it is the only species in Minnesota with the needles in bunches
(fascicles) of 5. The basal scales of the fascicles are deciduous. The cones are 3 to 8
inches long, about an inch in diameter, and lack any prickles on the scales. The bark of
you ng trees an d branche s is smooth and greyish-green, beco ming dark grey and deeply
furrowed with age.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of Pinus strobus in the state.
White pine is not easily confused with it’s native cousins, red and jack pine, which have two Occurrrences are shown in white.
needles p er fascicle and persistent basal scale s. Young white pine see dlings w ith single
needles (“seed-leaves”) have minute teeth along the needle margins that are lacking in red
and jack pine. These teeth can be felt by holding a needle at its tip and pulling it between
the thum b and fore finger.

Unarmed cones

Needles in groups of 5 (lower left)

Ecological Notes
White pine has a broad range of habitats in Minnesota, but it is most abundant in mesic and dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests. It is
occasional as a minor component of Mesic Hardwood Forests. Seedlings and young trees can be found in wetland and peatland forests;
however, these trees rarely reach maturity. The overall distribution of white pine in Minnesota is correllated with areas of rough topography
that are also prone to moderate surface fires. Loamy soils over bedrock and and gravelly moraines provide most of this habitat. Sites with
white pine usually have soils that are well-drained to somewhat excessively drained. Mean synecological scores for 656 forested sample
plots with white pine are: M=2.4, N=2.5, L=2.9.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Pho tos: Un ivers ity of W iscon sin
Polygala paucifolia Willd. h Gaywings h POLYGALACEAE
Polygala paucifolia is one of six species of Polygala that occur in Minnesota. It is native to six
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands.

P. paucifolia is a perennial herb arising from a slender rhizome with stems from 8 cm to 15 cm
tall. Three to six elliptic to oval leaves at the top, with scattered ,scale-like leaves below. The
flowers number 1 to 4 and are an exquisite rose-purple, varying to white with obovate
wings about 15 mm long. Blooms May and June.

This plant is most easily confused with Gaultheria procumbens, when it is found without
flowers. The dark green, leathery leaves strongly resemble one another, however gaywings
has small, scale-like leaves on the lower portion of the stem. The leaves of wintergreen
also taste like wintergreen when chewed. Primary (black) and secondary
(grey) ranges of P. paucifolia in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Scale leaf
below terminal leaves
Ecological Notes

Gaywings occur most often in Fire-dependent Forests & Woodlands, and occur infrequently in Forested Rich Peatlands. They are indicators of the Northern and
Northwestern floristic regions* of these forested ecosystems. Their preferred habitat in fire-dependent forests are excessively or somewhat excessively drained
sandy soils incapable of perching snowmelt or rainfall. They can rarely occur on rather dry, mossy tree bases in white cedar swamps that are otherwise poorly
drained. In both cases they are in coniferous forests with mossy groundlayers. Mean synecological scores for 60 forested sample plots with gaywings are: M=2.5,
N=2.0, L=3.4.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Polygonatum pubescens (Willd.) Pursh h Hairy Solomons Seal h LILIACEAE
Polygonatum pubescens is one of two species of Polygonatum that occur in Minnesota. It is
native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake
Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa
Moraines and the Paleozoic Plateau.

P. pubescens is a perennial herb from a knotty, horizontal rhizome. Its arching form reaches
heights of up to 90 cm, but is normally much shorter. The narrowly elliptical to broadly oval
leaves are alternate along the unbranched stem with a sessile attatchment, glabrous above
and with hairs along the linear veins of the leaf underside. One to two flowers are on
pedulcles hanging from leaf axils, these are yellowish green and bloom from May to July.
The fruit dark blue or black, many seeded berry.

This species is most easily confused with other members in the family Liliaceae. The genus Primary (black) and secondary
Uvularia can be eliminated if the fruits (dry capsules) or flowers are present and the plants (grey) ranges of P. pubescens in the
branching. Sterile U. sessilifolia very closely resembles P. pubescens, but lacks any state. Occurrences are shown in
white.
pubescence on the undersides of the leaves. Streptopus can be separated from Polygonatum
by its red fruits (if present) or by its distinct ciliate leaf margin. Smilacinashave terminal rather than axillary inflorescences.
Polygonatum commutatum lacks hairs on the backs of the leaves and is much larger than P. pubescens.

Fruits from axils

Lines of hairs on underside leaf veins

Ecological Notes
Hairy Solomon’s seal is a widespread forest herb of Mesic Hardwood Forests. It occurs rarely in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests and some Wet Forests with
black ash. It occurs in all floristic regions* of Mesic Hardwood Forests, but is most abundant in the Northern and Central regions. Its preferred habitat is fine-
textured soils developed on till, but can occur on several other types of landforms with coarser parent material. Soil drainage is typically well-drained or
moderately well drained ranging to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 614 forested sample plots with hairy Solomon’s seal are: M=2.4,
N=3.5, L=2.0.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Prunus serotina Ehrh. h Black cherry h ROSEACEAE
Prunus serotina is one of eight species of Prunus which occur in Minnesota. It is native
to eight ecological sections* of the state: Northern Superior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau, and
rarely in the Red River Valley.

Prunus serotina is the largest of the native cherries. Its branching and leaf attachment
are a lternate. Th e leaves are firm , oblong-lanceolate, 6-12 cm long, with a serru late
margin - the teeth incurved and gland tipped. A distinguishing characteristic is an
orange fuzz located along the midrib on the underside of the leaf. Unlike other cherries
which flower before leaves appear, black cherry flowers late in relation to leaf
development, usually around the end of May. The flowers are white and arranged in a
pendant racem e 8-15 cm long. The fruit is a one-seeded, dark purple drupe that is
edible when ripe.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of P. serotina in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Raceme of unripe cherries

Orange fuzz on midrib

Ecological Notes
Black cherry is a common understory component of Mesic Hardwood Forests and it is occasional in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests. It
occurs mostly in the southern and central floristic regions* of the state. Rarely, it occurs in the northern floristic region. It can occur on almost
any landform and on soils of any texture. It is, however, strongly terrestrial and occurs on soils that are exessively drained to well drained.
Usually these soils are quite nutrient-rich and often have dark surface horizons that indicate a former vegetation of prairie or brushland. This
tree is a curiosity in that its seedlings are widespread and abundant, yet very few survive to become saplings or trees. Of the 334 sample
plots with black cherry, “trees” taller than 10 m were reported in just 61 plots. Survival to tree size is by far more common in the Paleozoic
Plateau* of southeastern Minnesota. Groves of black cherry may owe their origin to pockets of oak wilt where they are released by the death
of the overstory oaks. Mean synecological scores for 334 forested sample plots with black cherry are: M=2.3, N=3.7, L=2.1.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document contact: John C.
Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Ranunculus recurvatus Poir. h Hooked Crowfoot h RANUNCULACEAE
Ranunculus recurvatus is one of 18 species of Ranunculus that occur in Minnesota. It is
native to seven ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior
Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines and the Paleozoic
Plateau.

R. recurvatus is an herb 20 to 70 cm in height, sparsely hirsute, with few branches or
flowers. Leaves have petioles (except the uppermost) and are broadly reniform or rotund
cleft to near the middle to form three main lobes, the basal leaves rather “maple-
shaped.” Flower petals are yellow 3.5 - 6 mm long. The fruit is an achene, which is very
flat about 2 mm long with a beak hook. Blooms April to June.

R. recurvatus is most likely to be confused with others in its genus. It is the most common
species that is an upland plant with large maple-like basal leaves. The seeds are the most Primary (black) and secondary
reliable diagnostic character, and the rather long and strongly hooked beaks of hooked (grey) ranges of R. recurvatus in the
crowfoot are diagnostic if one is familiar with the other members of the genus. state. Occurrences are shown in
white.

Seeds with strongly curved beaks

Ecological Notes
Hooked crowfoot occurs in wet-mesic Hardwood Forests and Wet Forests. It occurs in all floristic regions* of these forest ecosystems. It occurs on a variety of
landforms, but mostly those with fine-textured parent material. Soil drainage on sites with this plant is somewhat poorly to very poorly drained, ranging
infrequently to well-drained sites. Mean synecological scores for 90 forested sample plots with hooked crowfoot are: M=2.9, N=3.6, L=2.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Rhus typhina L. h Staghorn-sumac h ANACARDIACEAE
Rhus typhina is one of four native species of Rhus that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
seven ecological sections* of the state: Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota
Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota &
NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains and the Paleozoic Plateau.

R. typhina is a tall shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. The young branches, petioles and
leaf rachise are covered in a dense velvet. The leaves are compound, leaflets being
lanceolate to narrowly oblong, 5 cm - 12 cm, finely to coarsely serrate, and turning bright
red in the fall. The fruit is red cluster covered with fine hairs.

This species could be confused with Rhus glabra which is also common in Minnesota,
however the young branches are smooth in this species.

Typical colony in fall Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of R. typhina in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Inflorescence
and velvety stem

Photos: Hugh H. Iltis , Dennis W. Woodland, Robert Bierman, University of Wisconsin

Ecological Notes
Staghorn sumac is a weedy shrub, seen most often in roadside ditches. Occasionally it is present in native vegetation, most often Fire-dependent woodlands with
rocky openings or dry sandy savannas within the Upland Prairie region of Minnesota. The stony or sandy soils are excessively or somewhat excessively drained,
ranging to well drained. Mean synecological scores for 17 forested sample plots with staghorn sumac are: M=1.7, N=2.4, L=3.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Rubus pubescens Raf. h Dwarf raspberry h ROSACEAE
Rubus pubescens is one of 21 species of Rubus that occur in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

R. pubescens is a trailing herb with stems lacking the prickles characteristic of the
woody members of the genus. The leaves are trifoliate and upright from the prostrate stem.
Leaflets are rhombic-ovate, 4 cm - 8 cm in length and sharply toothed, the lateral leaflets
assymetric about the mid-vein. Single white flowers are terminal on peduncles which
arise from leaf axils. Up to three flowers per axil is possible. The multiple fruits are a dark
red and taste like red raspberries.

Dwarf raspberry is easily confused with strawberries (Fragaria ), especially when spreading
from stolons. Strawberries differ by having blunt-tipped leaves with a terminal tooth scarcely Primary (black) and secondary
equal to (F. vesca) or shorter than (F. virginiana) the adjacent teeth. Dwarf raspberries have (grey) ranges of R. pubescens in the
state. Occurrences are shown in
sharp-tipped leaves and the terminal tooth is much longer than the adjacent teeth. white.

Herbaceous stem

Dried fruits
Left: Terminus of stawberry leaf
with short terminal tooth

Ecological Notes
Dwarf raspberry is a widespread plant that is common in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, and Wet Forests. It is occasionally found in
Forested Rich Peatlands. It is most frequent in the Northern florsitic regions* of these forested ecosystems, but occurs also in the Central, Northwestern, and
Southern regions. It occurs on a wide variety of landforms and has no strong affinity for a particular soil texture. Soil drainage ranges from well-drained to very
poorly drained on sites with this plant. Mean synecological scores for 1,351 forested sample plots with dwarf raspberry are: M=2.9, N=2.6, L=2.8.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Rudbekia laciniata L. h Goldenglow h COMPOSITAE
Rudbekia laciniata is one of three species of Rudbekia that occur in Minnesota. It is native
to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Western Superior
Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau
and the Red River Valley.

R. laciniata is a perennial herb growing from 0.5 m to 3 m high on a coarse stem. The stem
is glabrous often glaucous with large, petiolate leaves which are coarsely toothed and
laciniate. Many of these leaves are pinnatifid or sometimes trilobed, the upper surfaces
being glabrous and the undersides hirsute or strigose. Flower heads are numerous,
the disks are yellow to gray on a spherical receptacle. Involucral bracts are reflexed and
green, glabrous to strigous. Ray flowers are reflexed, yellow about 3 cm - 6 cm long.
Blooms from July to September.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
Typical basal leaf
ranges of R. laciniata in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Colony
Flower showing
round receptacle
and reflexed petals

Ecological Notes
Goldenglow occurs in Floodplain Forests, Wet Forests, and wet-mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most frequent in the Southern florsitic regions* of these
ecosystems, but extends into all florsitic regions along river corridors. Its preferred habitat is on rich soils developed on sediments of some kind: alluvium, lake
plains, water-washed till, and drainages within moraines. Sites with this plant are mostly moderately well to somewhat poorly drained, but they range from well
drained to poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 156 forested sample plots with goldenglow are: M=2.8, N=4.1, L=1.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Salix humilis Marsh. h Prairie willow h SALICACEAE
Salix humilis is one of 24 species of Salix which occur in Minnesota. It is native to nine
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa M oraines,
and the Paleozoic P lateau. It is occasionally found in the North C entra l Glaciated Plains.

S. hum ilis is a shrub growing from 1-3 m tall. It has yellowish to brown mottled
branch lets that can be either pubescent or glabrous. The leave s are entire to sparingly
undulate-crenulate, somewhat revolute, dark green above, 3-10(15) cm in length and
1-2(3) cm in width. Incis ed vein ation on the up per surface of the leaf a nd a wooly
tomentum across lower leaf surface is especially characteristic of prairie willow. The
flowers appear before the leave s. The fem ale catkins are 1-3.5 cm long and produce fruit
capsules that are hairy, 4-9 mm long, and with stipes 1-2.5 mm long that are grey and
pubescent.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of S humilis in the state.
The taxonomy of willows is difficult for most people, and sometimes positive identification Occurrences shown in white.
requires one visit to collect either male or fem ale flowers and a second visit to collect mature
leaves. Willows of dry upland habitats and with lower leaf surfaces that have a solid wooly
covering can be identified as prairie willow for most field applications.

Leaf back showing leaf veins raised below (incised above) and white tomentum across entire leaf surface. Revolute margin evident at bottom.

Ecological Notes
Prairie willow is a plant with high fidelity for Fire-dependent forests. It is most often encountered in forests of the northwestern and central
floristic regions* of the state. It is occasional in the northern floristic region and rare in the southern. This shrub prefers coarse sandy soils
developed on sandy lacustrine sediments or on outwash. It occurs also on thin, sandy loam till over bedrock. Soil drainage for sites with this
plant are extremely well drained to well drained. These soils lack subsoil horizons that can perch snowmelt or rainfall, which makes them
very droughty and subject to fires. Mean synecological scores for 182 forested sample plots with prairie willow are: M=2.0, N=2.2, L=3.5.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Scutellaria lateriflora L. h Mad-dog skullcap h LABIATAE
Scutellaria lateriflora is one of five species of Scutellaria which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is
native to nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

S. lateriflora is an erect perennial 10-100 cm tall. It has opposite, lance shaped leaves
that are slightly toothed and hairy beneath. The flowers form an elongate shoot from
the axil of the leaves on the main stem. The flowers have a hump on the upper lobe of
the calyx which resem bles a “skullcap”, hence the comm on nam e. Also, the blue flowers
have white markings that some see as resembling skulls. The flowers appear in mid-
summer. Similar to other mints it has a square stem, but it lacks a strong fragrance.

This plant could be confused vegetatively with several other members of its family, but Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
skullcaps are the only mints in Minnesota with the characteristic humped calyx lobe. ranges of S. flexicaulis in the state.
Scutellaria lateriflora and S. ovata are the only skullcaps in Minnesota without solitary Occurrences are shown in white.
flowers. S. ovata is restricted to southeastern Minnesota and differs from mad dog
skullcap by having cordate leaves and inflorescences that are mostly term inal racem es.

Flowers borne on racemes in leaf axils

Ecological Notes
Mad-dog skullcap is a common plant of Wetland Forests, Rich Forested Peatlands, and Floodplain Forests. It is most often encountered in
the central and northern floristic regions* of the state and occurs sparingly in the northwest and southern floristic regions. It can occur on
any landform and on soils of any texture as long as it is wet. The soils typically have a mucky surface and are poorly or very poorly drained.
This plant grows well on wet logs and organic rich microhabitats where surface erosion concentrates litter and fine soil particles. Mean
synecological scores for 152 forested sample plots with mad-dog skullcap are: M=3.4, N=3.1, L=2.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Senecio pauperculus Michx. h Balsam ragwort h COMPOSITAE
Senecio pauperculus is one of nine species of Senecio that occur in Minnesota. It is native
to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Western Superior
Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau
and the Red River Valley.

S. pauperculus is a fibrous rooted perennial with a short, slightly branched woody base
reaching a height of up to 10 - 50 cm. The plant is generally floccose-tomentose when
young then becoming glabrate except at the base and leaf axils. Basal leaves are
suborbicular, tapering to a petiolar base approximately 12 cm in length. Stem leaves are
more or less pinnatifid, the lower larger than the basal, the upper becoming reduced and
sessile. Flower heads number up to 20, with yellow disks 2 - 12 mm wide, yellow rays 5 - 10
mm long. Flowers in May thru July.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
Balsam ragwort is most likely to be confused with other members of its genus not limited to ranges of S. paupercaulis in the
obviously wet habitats or prairies. S. aureus differs by having basal leaves that are heart- state. Occurrences are shown in
white.
shaped at the base. S. plattensis differs by being persistently white-woolly, especially
on the lower leaf surface, and it is mostly absent from the Laurentian Mixed Forest Flowers Photo: Robert R Kowal
Province. The basal leaves of balsam ragwort have distinctive saw-teeth and are
a reliable field character.

Colony
Photo: Robert R Kowal

Distinctive basal leaves

Ecological Notes
Balsam ragwort leads a dual life in Minnesota. Within the Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands it is a plant of rather wet habitats within Upland Prairie, Wet Prairie, and
Open Peatlands. In the forested parts of the state, it is a good indicator of dry Fire-dependent Woodlands and is mostly limited to the Central floristic region*.
There it occurs on sandy outwash or sandy lacustrine deposits with excessively or somewhat exessively drained soils. Mean synecological scores for 72 forested
sample plots with balsam ragwort are: M=2.1, N=2.0, L=4.1.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Solidago flexicaulis L. h Zig-zag goldenrod h ASTERACEAE
Solidago flexicalis is one of 16 species of Solidago which occur in Minnesota. It is native
to eight ecological sections* of the state: Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands,
Northern Superior Uplands, Southern Superior Uplands, Northe rn M innesota Drift &
Lake Plain, Minnesota & NE Iow a Moraines, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

S. flexicaulis is an erect perennial 20-100 cm tall. It has a characteristic zig-zag stem
with coarsely toothed, ova te lea ves that taper to a bro adly winged petiole. Its
many racem ed or clustered flowers bloom from July to O ctober, but in deep sh ade it
rarely flowers.

This plant is the m ost distinctive goldenro d in M innesota. It is the only species with
large, ovate leave s an d a zig-zag stem. For more information on M inneso ta’s
goldenro ds, co nsult: Rosendahl, C.O. and A. Cronquist. 194 5. The goldenrods of
Minnesota: a floristic study. American Midland Naturalist. 33:244-253.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of S. flexicaulis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.)

Ecological Notes
Zig-zag goldenrod is a plant with high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is most often encountered in the central, northern and
southern floristic regions* of the state. It prefers fine-textured soils developed on till or loess. Sites where this plant occurs are well drained
or moderately well drained. Such soils have subsoil horizons that perch rainfall and snowmelt, which help to deter spring fires. Mean
synecological scores for 531 forested sample plots with zig-zag goldenrod are: M=2.4, N=3.9. L=1.8.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Streptopus roseus Michx. h Rose twistedstalk h LILIACEAE
Streptopus roseus is one of two species of Streptopus which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is
native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

Streptopus roseus has a zig-zag stem, which tends to be branche d in fertile
individuals and solitary in sterile individuals. It has nodding, pink, bell-shaped
flowe rs, with separate petals that are borne in the leaf axils. The leaves are
lanceolate, slightly clasping the stem w ith distinct parallel veins. The leaf margins are
beset with stiff, evenly-spaced hairs (ciliate). The fruit is a red berry.

There are several similar-looking plants of the lily family that when sterile, can be
confusing in the north ern w oods. Streptopus, Polygonatum, Smilacina, and Uvularia
are superficially sim ilar. Streptopus is the only mem ber of th is group with the strongly Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ciliate leaf margins. ranges of S. roseus in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Nodding flowers

Ciliate hairs on leaf margin
Red berries
Ecological Notes
Rose twistedstalk is a terrestrial plant occurring mostly in Mesic Hardwood Forests and occasionally in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests
and Wetland Forests. It is strongly affiliated with the northern and northwestern floristic regions* of the state. Rose twistedstalk occurs
mostly on fine-textured soils developed on till. Sites where this plant occurs are well-drained to somewhat poorly drained. Mean
synecological scores for 1,015 forested sample plots with rose twistedstalk are: M=2.5, N=3.0, L=2.3.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake h Snowberry h CAPRIFOLIACEAE
Symphoricarpos albus is one of thre e species of Symphoricarpos which o ccur in
Minnesota. It is native to all 10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen
Parklands, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands,
Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior
Uplands, Minneso ta & NE Iowa M oraines, North Centra l Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic
Plateau and, the Red R iver Valley.

S. alba is a hollow-stem med, half-shrub from 10-100 cm tall. The leaves are oppositely
arranged, 2-3 cm long, oval, and entire. The leaves are d ull green above and are
whitened un derneath. It has tiny, pinkish-w hite, bell-shaped flowers that typically
appear in pairs on short p edicels or a few lowers on short spike s. The fruit is a white,
2-stoned drupe (like a peach).

S. albus is ea sily confused with other opposite, entire-leaved half-shrubs – e spe cially
honeysuckles (Lonicera) or its near relative, S. occidentalis. Of the native honeysuckles Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
that are shrubs, all have colored berries (red or blue), branchlets filled with white pith, ranges of S. albus in the state.
and they flower in the spring. Symphoricarpos fruits are white, their branchlets are Occurrences are shown in white.
hollow , and they flower later than honeysuckles. S. occidentalis have
larger leaves (3-6 cm) that are usually wavy-margined.

Upper (green) and lower (white) leaf surfaces

Ecological Notes
Snowberry is a common plant of Fire-dependent Forests, Upland Prairies, and Lowland Prairies. It occurs rarely in Mesic Hardwood Forests
dominated by oak and subject to some surface fires. It occurs mostly in the northwest, central, and southern floristic regions* with scattered
populations on shallow-to-bedrock habitats in the northern floristic region. It prefers coarse-textured soils developed on outwash, sandy
lacustrine deposits, gravelly supraglacial till, and occasionally bedrock. Such soils lack subsoil horizons capable of perching snowmelt and
thus, are were subject to spring fires. Soil drainage where this plant occurs is typically excessively to well drained. Ocurrences are reported
from moderately well drained sites and where this occurs, this plant appears morphologically intermediate between its typical form and that
of S. occidentalis. Mean synecological scores for 206 forested sample plots with snowberry are: M=2.0, N=2.8, L=3.1.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Trientalis borealis Raf. h Starflower h PRIMULACEAE
Trie ntalis borealis is the o nly species of Trie ntalis that occurs in Minnesota. It is native
to seven ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, and the
Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines.

T. borealis is a low herb, perennial from a rhizome. Its stems are 10-20 cm tall with a
small scale leaf n ear th e middle a nd at the sum mit of a wh orl of lanceolate acuminate
leaves of 4-10 cm in length. The whorled leaves are rarely all the same size. There
are one to a few flower pedice ls, 2-5 cm long. The sep als linear-lance olate. The corolla
is white, 8-14 mm w ide with lanceolate to ovate lobes.

This plant is not easily confused with others. Its terminal whorl of unequal-sized leaves
and variable num ber o f leave s is rath er un ique.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of T. borealis in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Ecological Notes
Starflower is a widespread forest plant occurring in Fire-dependent Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wetland Forests and Rich Forested
Peatlands. It is extremely common in the northern and northwestern floristic regions* and less so in the central region. It is absent from
southern forests. It can occur on any landform and on soils of any texture. Soil drainage on sites with starflower range from excessively
drained to very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores from 1,081 forested sample plots with starflower are: M=2.7, N=2.7, L=2.7.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Pho tos: Un ivers ity of W iscon sin
Trillium grandiflorum (Michx.) Salisb h Large-flowered trillium h LILIACEAE
T. grandiflorum is one of four species of Trillium that occur in Minnesota. It is native to
seven eco logical sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands,
and the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines. It is occasionally found in the North Central
Glaciated Plains and the Paleozoic Plateau.

T. grandiflorum is a 20-40 cm tall perennial herb from a short, stout rhizome.
Terminating the erect stem is a single whorl of 3 ovate to rhombic leaves, 8-12 cm long.
The 5-8 cm long flower peduncle is erect, or if declined, still above the leaves. The
flower petals are initially white but become lavender-streaked and will clearly exceed the
sepals. The stigmas are straight or nearly so.

In flower, this plant is not easily confused with others. It is the only common, large
trillium in Minnesota to bear the flower above the leaves on an erect peduncle. Snow
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
trilliums, T. nivale , do the sam e but they a re m uch smaller plants and are exceedingly ranges of T.grandiflorum in the state.
rare. Seedlings a nd other small ste rile individ uals are another matter; the refo re, th is Occurrences are shown in white.
species is probably not reliably separated by leaf characteristics alone. For vegetation
work and other field applications, careful searching will usually yield at least a few
flowering / fruiting plants in a colony. Large-flowered trilliums could be confused with
sterile jack-in-the-pulpits, which differ from trillium s in th at they h ave a co llective m arginal
vein and they are not symmetrically trifoliate, having instead a clear terminal leaflet and
two opposing asymme tric leaflets.

Root-stock and condition in late fall
(primordial bud opened by hand here)

Ecological Notes
Large-lowered trillium is a plant with high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It is very abundant in the central floristic region* and occurs
rarely in northern or southern forests. It occurs mostly on supraglacial till where the soils are rather coarse, sandy loam. Soil drainage on
sites with this plant range from well-drained to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 202 forested sample plots with
large-flowered trilliums are: M=2.4, N=3.8, L=1.9.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Large photo: U nivers ity of W iscon sin
Urtica dioica L. h Stinging Nettle h URTICACEAE
Urtica dioica is the only species of Urtica that occurs in Minnesota. It is native to all 10
ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

U. dioica is a perennial herb with a simple erect stem, up to 2 m tall. Leaves are opposite
with an acute or acuminate tip, 5 cm - 15 cm long. Stipules are linear-lanceolate, 5 mm - 15
m long, with fine short hairs. This plant is covered throughout with fine stinging hairs
containing an irritating oil high in formic acid. Plants are usually monoecious, but
develop as predominantly staminate or pistillate. Flowers form on pendant, axillary
branches, sometimes longer than the adjacent petioles.

U.dioica is most likely to be confused with two other members of its family. Wood nettles
Primary (black) and secondary
(Laportea canadensis) differ by having alternate leaves and a terminal inflorescence. False (grey) ranges of U. dioica in the
nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) has very similar foliage, but lacks stinging hairs and has axillary state. Occurrences are shown in
inflorescences that arch upwards. white.

Plant Pendant inflorescence from leaf axils

Ecological Notes
Stinging nettle occurs in Floodplain Forests, Mesic Hardwood Forests, Wet Forests, and Wet Meadows. It occurs on all floristic regions* of these ecosystems. Its
preferred habitat is on rich soils developed on sediments of some kind: alluvium, lake plains, water-washed till, or local depressions within any landform that
accumulate some sediment. Soil drainage ranges from well-drained to very poorly drained. Mean synecological scores for 157 forested sample plots with stinging
nettle are: M=3.0, N=3.8, L=2.2.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Uvularia grandiflora Sm. h Large-flowered bellwort h LILIACEAE
Uvularia grandiflora is one of two species of Uvularia which o ccur in M inneso ta. It is
native to eight ecologica l sections* of the state: N orth ern Minneso ta & Ontario
Peatlands, Northern S uperior Uplands, Southern Supe rior Uplands, Northern
Minneso ta Drift & L ake Plain, M inneso ta & NE Iowa M oraines, and the Paleozoic
Plateau.

U. grandiflora is an erect perennial herb up to 75 cm tall. Fertile ind ividua ls are
branched and sterile individuals tend to be single-stem med. Its dark green leaves are
lanceolate, slightly pubescent beneath and the zig-zag stem seems to pass through
the leaves (perfoliate attachment). Its drooping yellow flower blooms from April to
June and forms into a 3-lobed capsule.

There are several similar-looking plants of the lily family that when sterile, can be
confusing in the north ern w oods. Streptopus, Polygonatum, Smilacina, and Uvularia are
superficially similar. U. grandiflora is the o nly m em ber o f this group with a perfo liate Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
leaf. ranges of U. grandiflora in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Drooping yellow flowers

Fertile, branched plant

Capsule and perfoliate leaf
Ecological Notes
Large-flowered bellwort is a plant with high fidelity for Mesic Hardwood Forests. It occurs rarely in Fire-dependent Forests and when it
does so it tends to be in association with oak. It is most often encountered in the central, northern and southern floristic regions* of the
state. It prefers fine-textured soils developed on till or loess. Sites where this plant occurs are well drained or moderately well drained.
Such soils have subsoil horizons that perch rainfall and snowmelt, which help to deter spring fires. Mean synecological scores for 826
forested sample plots with large-flowered bellwort are: M=2.4, N=3.7. L=1.9.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Uvularia sessilifolia L. h Sessile-leaved bellwort h LILIACEAE
Uvularia sessilifolia is one of 2 species of Uvularia that occur in Minnesota. It is native to all
10 ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern Minnesota &
Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains,
Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

U. sessilifolia is a perennial herb growing up to 10 cm - 30 cm with smooth stems and
foliage, with fertile individuals branching. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, acute at both
ends, with a sessile attachment to the stem. Typically a single cream-colored flower
(rarely 2 flowers) is borne on elongated stem from a leaf axis, later producing a three-
sided seed capsule. Blooms early, May to June.

U. sessilifolia is most often confused with other similar looking species in the lily family:
Streptopus, Polygonatum, Smilacina, and U. grandiflora. Streptopus differs by having Primary (black) and secondary
distinctly ciliolate leaves, many axillary flowers, and berries. Polygonatum differs by having (grey) ranges of U. sessilifolia in
the state. Occurrences are shown
many axillary flowers, berries, and non-branching habit. Smilacina differs by having a in white.
ternminal inflorescence of several flowers, berries, and non-branching habit. U. grandifolia is
easily distinguished by its perfoliate leaves and yellow flowers. U. sessilifolia is totally glabrous and some of the above species
have hairs somewhere on the plant.

Ecological Notes
Sessile-leaved bellwort occurs predominantly in Mesic Hardwood Forests, but can occur in dry-mesic Fire-dependent Forests, and rarely in Wet Forests. It occurs
in the Central and Northern floristic regions of Mesic Hardwood Forests, all floristic regions of Fire-dependent forests (especially Southern), and the Northern
region of Wet Forests. It occurs mostly on fine textured soils on till plains and moraines, but can occur on other landforms and soils. Well-drained soil are typical,
but the range is from somewhat exessivley drained to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological scores from 575 forested sample plots with sessile-leaved
bellwort are: M=2.3, N=3.3, L=2.2.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720
Vaccinium angustifolium Ait. h Lowbush blueberry h ERICACEAE
Vaccinium angustifolium is one of seven species of Vaccinium that occur in Minnesota.
It is native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands,
Northern M innesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Su perior Uplands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, and the Western Superior
Uplands. It is rare in the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines and the Paleozoic Plateau.

V. angustifolium is a perennial half-shrub 5-20 cm tall that commonly forms colonies.
The leaves are deciduous on green stems that beco me brown with age. The leaves are
narrowly elliptic, 1-3 cm long, have a serra te m argin, and are glabrou s on b oth
sides. The berry is bright blue.

In upland habitats, this plant is mo st often confused w ith velvet-leaved blueberries, V.
myrtilloides. The latter differs from lowbush blueberry in having entire, pubescent
leaves.
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of V. angustifolium in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Leaf glabrous Cylindric, 5-parted flowers
and with fine teeth

Entire, pubescent leaves
of velvet-leaved blueberry

Ecological Notes
Lowbush blueberries are a common plant of Fire-dependent Forests. They are occasional in rich Forested Peatlands and Acid Peatlands,
which share in common with fire-dependent habitats, the tendency to be nutrient poor. Lowbush blueberries are infrequent in the
comparatively rich Mesic Hardwood Forests and Wetland Forests. They occur widely in the northern and central floristic regions*. The soils
tend to be quite dry and excessively drained OR quite wet and poorly drained. The former is accomplished on sandy outwash, coarse
supraglacial till, or shallow-to-bedrock situations. The latter is accomplished in peatlands with a carpet of Sphagnum mosses. Lowbush
blueberry is the most important commerical species in the Great Lake States. Mean synecological scores for 723 forested sample plots with
lowbush blueberries are: M=2.5, N=2.2, L=3.3.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document contact: John C.
Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Vaccinium myrtilloides Michx. h Velvet-leaved blueberry h ERICACEAE
Vaccinium myrtilloides is one of seven native species of Vaccinium that occur in
Minnesota. It is native to eight ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen
Parklands, Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands,
Northern M innesota Drift & Lake Plains, Southern S uperior Uplands, and the We stern
Superior Uplands. It is very seldom in the Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines and
Paleozoic Plateau.

V. myrtilloides is a perennial half-shrub 5-20 cm tall that commonly forms colonies. The
leaves are deciduo us on green stems that become brown w ith age. The leaves are
narrowly elliptic, 1.5-3 cm long, have an entire m argin, and are softly pubescent on
both sides. The berry is blue and strongly glaucous.

In upland habitats, this plant is mo st often confused w ith lowbush blueberries, V.
angustifolium. The latter differs from velvet-leaved blueberry in having serrate, glabrous
leaves. Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of V. myrtilloides in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

With berry showing whitish bloom (glaucous)

Entire
Lowbush blueberry with
pubescent
glabrous and fine teeth
leaves

Ecological Notes
Velvet-leaved blueberries are a common plant of Fire-dependent Forests, Rich Forested Peatlands, and Acid Peatlands; which share in
common the tendency to be nutrient poor. Velvet-leaved blueberries are infrequent in the comparatively rich Mesic Hardwood Forests and
Wetland Forests. They occur widely in the northern, northwestern, and central floristic regions*. The soils tend to be quite dry and
excessively drained OR quite wet and poorly drained. The former is accomplished on sandy outwash, coarse supraglacial till, or shallow-to-
bedrock situations. The latter is accomplished in peatlands with a carpet of Sphagnum mosses. Mean synecological scores for 358 forested
sample plots with velvet-leaved blueberries are: M=2.9, N=2.0, L=3.4.

* For maps of ecological Sections of Minnesota, floristic regions of Minnesota, descriptions of ecological Systems, and copies of this document
contact: John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Viola pubescens Ait. h Yellow violet h VIOLACEAE
Viola pubescens is one of 32 species of Viola which occur in Minnesota. It is native to
nine ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspe n Parklands, Northern
Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands, Northern Superior Uplands, Northern Minnesota Drift &
Lake Plains, Southern Superior Uplands, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE
Iowa Moraines, North Central Glaciated Plains, and the Paleozoic Plateau.

V. pubescens is an e rect peren nial with softly villous stems up to 45 cm tall. It has both
stem leave s (cauline) and basal leaves. A typical colony will be mostly basal leaves with
scattered fertile individuals having stem leaves and flowers. The stem leaves are light
gree n, heart shap ed and h airy, and usua lly associated with a sing le basa l leaf. This
plant bears yellow flowe rs (petaliferous) in May and June, and produces below-ground
flowers (cleistoga mo us) in the sum me r and fall.

The violets as a whole are difficult taxonomically; there are but a few, however, with stem
Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
leaves. V. pubescens is the only violet with both yellow flowers and cauline leaves. ranges of V. pubescens in the state.
Sterile specimens of V. pubescens and V. canadensis are easily separated from V. Occurrences are shown in white.
conspersa and V. adunca by leaf size, the latter having much smaller (<4 cm)
leave s. V. canadensis propagates by underground stolons that are lacking in V. pubescens.
The tendency of violets in general to produce un derground flowers is a good field character
for separating them from the basal leaves of superficially similar plants (Asters and other
comp osites).

Fruit in mid-summer

Ecological Notes
Yellow violets have high fidelity form Mesic Hardwood Forests. They occur rarely in Floodplain Forests, Wetland Forests, and Fire-dependent
Forests. They are most abundant in the central and southern floristic regions* of the state and are encountered much less often in the
northern and northwestern floristic regions. They prefer fine-textured soils developed on till, alluvium, or loess. They occur on sites with a
rather narrow range of drainage classes, with most reported as occurring on well or moderately well drained soils. Commonly, there is a
subsoil horizon capable of perching snowmelt and discouraging spring fires. Mean synecological scores for 713 forested sample plots with
yellow violets are: M=2.5, N=3.7, L=1.9.

* For m aps of ec ological S ections o f Minn esota, floristic reg ions of M inneso ta, descriptio ns of eco logical Sys tems , and cop ies of this do cum ent con tact:
John C. Almendinger, Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Zanthoxylum americanum Mill. h Prickly Ash h RUTACEAE
Zanthoxylum americanum is the only species of Zanthoxylum that occurs in Minnesota. It is
native to seven ecological sections* of the state: Lake Agassiz Aspen Parklands, Northern
Minnesota Drift & Lake Plains, Western Superior Uplands, Minnesota & NE Iowa Moraines,
North Central Glaciated Plains, Paleozoic Plateau and the Red River Valley.

Z. americanum is a tall shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall. Sharp thorns abound on the
branches and stems. Leaves are alternate, odd-pinnately compound with 5 to 15, elliptic
or ovate leaflets which are strongly aromatic. Flowers are in on short peduncles, crating
clusters on branches of the previous year’s growth. Blooms in April and May.

Primary (black) and secondary (grey)
ranges of Z. americanum in the state.
Occurrences are shown in white.

Branch; thorny stem inset above, flower clusters inset right Photos: Botany Department, University of Wisconsin

Ecological Notes
Prickly ash is a weedy shrub capable of forming thickets in any disturbed upland forest or prairies that have escaped fire for many years. It is most frequent in the
Central and Southern floristic regions* of Mesic Hardwood Forests. Northern Wet Forests, Northern and Southern Floodplain Forests, and Southern Fire-
dependent Forests are also hosts to prickly ash. Its preferred habitat is rich, fine-textured soils developed on alluvium, till or loess, but it can occur on coarser
soils. Most occurrences are on well-drained sites, but the range of soil drainage is from excessively drained to somewhat poorly drained. Mean synecological
scores from 252 forested sample plots with prickly ash are M=2.4, N=4.1, L=1.9.

For Referenced Material* Training
John C. Almendinger Louise S.Y. Levy
Ecological Land Classification Program Sustainable Forests Ed. Coop.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center
413 SE 13th Street 175 University Road
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Cloquet, MN 55720