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ROADWEEDS OF THE UPPER PENINSULA


Yellow Flowers    

  An alien (or exotic species)             Can be easily seen while driving        More information


Cinquefoil1.jpg (30289 bytes)
June-August

Common Name:  Cinquefoil               
Latin Name: 
Potentilla spp.                 
Family: 
Rosaceae          

Potentilla is another genus that gives botanists headaches.  There are about 14 species in Michigan, two are listed as threatened and a couple are widespread exotics.  Other species are found around the globe on suitable habitat.  P. norvegica may be the one we are most familiar with, but there are other common species in Michigan, too.  The yellow flowers are rather conspicuous and resemble the pink or white "wild rose".  



June-September
Common Name:  Silverweed               
Latin Name: 
Potentilla anserina                 
Family: 
Rosaceae 

This plant is locally abundant along roadsides near the Great Lakes.  Found naturally on gravel beds, usually near water.  The compound leaf has toothed margins and loosely resembles strawberry.  Flowers are numerous and vegetation forms a soft mat along roadsides.

Parsnip1.jpg (176433 bytes)
June-July

Common Name:  Wild Parsnip                                             
Latin Name: 
Pastinaca sativa.                 
Family: 
Umbelliferae             

Wild parsnip is an exotic species from Europe, probably escaped from cultivation.  It's a tall plant, about four feet tall, with "yellow umbrellas" at the top.  Individual flowers are small and may appear sort of waxy.  They never quite look like they have fully bloomed.  The plant is somewhat carrot-like looking.  It doesn't grow in the really dry, barren places along the road, but more towards a ditch in moister soil.  Juices from this plant can cause a nasty rash or blisters, especially on hot, humid days when bare skin comes into contact with the plant. Caution!


Sowthistle1.jpg (40862 bytes)
July-October

Common Name:  Sow Thistle                                                
Latin Name: 
Sonchus arvensis
Family: 
Compsitae

Sow thistles look like giant dandelions with bigger flower heads and prickly leaves.  There are usually 2-3 flower heads per plant, although this may vary.  While the heads may look like a single flower, they are actually many small flowers with one of several functions. 


ButterEggs1.jpg (31735 bytes)
May-September

Common Name:  Butter 'n Eggs                                            
Latin Name: 
Linaria vulgaris                 
Family: 
Scrophulariaceae         

Butter 'n Eggs is a pretty European species in the snapdragon family.  The blooms are whitish with a strong yellow-orange color.   Some blooms resemble popcorn more than "butter and eggs".  The flowers have a long "tail", characteristic of the flowers in this family.   Butter 'n Eggs are often found in small colonies.


Hawkweed1.jpg (21682 bytes)
June-September

Common Name:  Hawkweed                                                        
Latin Name: 
Hieracium spp.  
Family: 
Compositae           

A genus of both native and exotic species, the dozen (or more) hawkweed species are difficult to distinguish but as a genus are easy to recognize.  There are few orange flowers, especially along roadsides.   Hawkweeds look like orange dandelions on slender stalks, but there is no milky sap.   The intensity of orange varies, some are even yellow. 


Mullein1.jpg (12321 bytes)
June-September

Common Name:  Mullein                                                 
Latin Name: 
Verbascum thapsis                 
Family: 
Scrophulariaceae        

Mullein is easy to identify year-round.   The tall, thick flower stalks are topped with a large spike of yellow flowers.   The large, fuzzy, soft leaves are mostly in the lower parts of the plant.   During the winter, mullein leaves stay green and the dry, brown stalks usually persist late into the season. 


Goldenrod1.jpg (38189 bytes)
August-Sept

Common Name:  Goldenrod                                                       
Latin Name: 
Solidago spp.                 
Family: 
Compositae         

The showy goldenrod blooms might be the most conspicuous color along roadsides and in old fields during the later summer and early autumn.  Sometimes goldenrod forms sweeping "seas of yellow" across large open areas.  The plants usually stand 2-3 feet tall and have variously-shaped flower spikes.  There are at least a couple dozen species.  Houghton's goldenrod is on the Michigan threatened plant list, but it is not a roadside species.


Tansy1.jpg (25092 bytes)
August-October

Common Name:  Common Tansy                                     
Latin Name: 
Tanacetum vulgare
Family: 
Compositae          

Tansy has bright yellow flowers in broadly round-top clusters.  Individual flowers look like mini chrysanthemums but are usually no more than a half-inch wide, but clusters may be 4-6 inches wide.  The plants stands about four feet tall.  Crushed leaves have a spicy smell to them.  The exotic plant is widespread across Michigan but is not considered highly invasive.  It most likely escaped from flower gardens.


BEsusan1.jpg (43471 bytes)
June-October

Common Name:  Black-eyed Susan                                            
Latin Name: 
Rudbeckia hirta                 
Family: 
Compositae                 

Black-eyed Susan is another one of those very familiar summer time flowers.  The dark brown center and cheeful golden "petals" can found along roadsides throughout the state.  The blooms may be up to three inches wide and the plants reach a height of up to three feet.  Some people might refer to Black-eyed Susans as yellow daisies, although daisies are another genus altogether. 


HopClover1.jpg (28529 bytes)
May-September

Common Name:  Hop Clover                                                    
Latin Name: 
Trifolium aureum               
Family: 
Leguminosae                         

Hop clover is an inconspicuous small flower that grows close to the ground.  The clusters of tiny flowers are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length.  The leaves have that distinction "clover look" to them.  Most of the clovers in Michigan are exotics from Europe, including hop clover.   And like its cousins, it has escaped from cultivation as forage crops.


BFtrefoil1.jpg (21578 bytes)
June-August

Common Name:  Birdsfoot Trefoil                                       
Latin Name: 
Lotus corniculata                 
Family: 
Leguminosae          

Birdsfoot trefoil is a brilliant yellow flower that blooms during the height of summer.  Along roadsides it can form solid stretchs of dense vegetation, as well as large sweeping patches in old fields.  It is classed as mildly invasive and is often used as cover in deer openings.  It won't grow in shade.   While native species are often preferred for wildlife plantings (if you really want any), the seed is often hard to come by.  Birdsfoot trefoil and clover seed stock is readily available. 


StJohnswort1.jpg (35235 bytes)
June-September

Common Name:  St. Johnswort                                     
Latin Name: 
Hypericum perforatum                 
Family: 
Hypericaceae       

Scruffy-looking, five-part flowers with lots of stamens will help identify St. Johnswort.  Flowers are not a bright yellow and petals often appear rather crumpled.  There are about a dozen species in Michigan.   Most tend to have loose clusters of flowers at the top of the plant, which usually stands 2-3 feet tall.


Buttercup1.jpg (34597 bytes)
April-July

Common Name:  Buttercups                                             
Latin Name: 
Ranunculus spp.                 
Family: 
Ranunculaceae      

Buttercups have rather small flowers with five petals.  Sometimes the petals are notched and flowers look like they have more than five petals.  Plant heights vary considerably, from a foot to several feet, depending upon the species and site.  There are many species of buttercups in Michigan. 


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This website was constructed by Bill Cook. If you have questions or comments about the information on this page, contact Bill

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