In the two weeks since I last visited the Lake Johanna Esker property, a few of the prairie plants have bloomed and gone into seed production mode, and a few new species have sprung up from the thin prairie soil on top of the esker. (For more information about this unusual prairie site and a definition of “esker”, see my earlier post.)
Dakota and Lakota Native Americans ate the fruit which is full of many small black seeds. They are green and raw tasting inside right now, though, definitely not fully ripe yet. Ground Plum is easily confused with “loco-weed” which it resembles but the latter is toxic to livestock. The vegetation and fruits of this plant were apparently eaten by passing herds of buffalo and native people referred to it as “food of buffalo” or “buffalo bean”.
The esker has come alive with spring flowers in the warmish June weather. We counted (and identified) more than 16 species blooming on this trip.
A succession of bloomers and those going to seed will take place over this summer, and I hope to visit often enough to track those changes.