Category Archives: indiana wildflowers

“Reaching for the Light”

The warm weather and storms the last couple of days have just been a tease for what is about to break out around Madison Indiana, by the end of this month the gorges and canyons that line the Ohio River here in Southern Indiana will come alive with a rich variety of beautiful wildflowers, this area boasts one of the best displays of wildflowers in the Midwest.

One of the best places to hike and view the wildflowers is in Clifty Falls State Park, the park happens to be one of the best areas that I have photographed wildflowers and it doesn’t hurt that it is just a few miles form my front door. From the early season Bloodroot to the late blooming Wild Columbine you can’t beat Clifty or any of the other public or private lands that surround my home town for photographing these beautiful little gems.

The image I have posted I actually shot few a years back  in Clifty and I reprocessed it and thought I might post it again just to get ready for the annual bloom. I really loved how the fern unfurling seems to be reaching for the light..hence the title.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with me this year, unlike last years horrible weather, and I will b able to get some great shots to share with you. Hope you enjoy the pic and thanks for stopping by, and click the image for best result.




“Madison Indiana Tourism”

Two months from now the woods and canyons that surround Madison Indiana will transform from the dark bleak environment that we have lived with for the last few months, into a display of color and fragrance that makes it hard to even believe that it is the same area that we live in.

I still believe that this part of Southeastern Indiana with it’s many waterfalls and unique geographic features is the most under utilized area for tourism in the Midwest, I have traveled and hiked some of the other destinations in the East and this area is definitely right near the top for natural beauty.

With the beautiful hardwood gorges and 25 waterfalls 30 feet or bigger, the day hiker could go afield for many days just to witness the natural geographic wonders that lie in our own backyard.

And every spring these tree lined canyons explode with a display of wildflowers that rivals even the beautiful blooms of the Great Smoky and Appalachian Mountains, the only problem is I may be the only person singing the praises of this hidden gem we live in, for me personally that might be a good thing but in terms of economic and tourism dollars it’s not so good.

Clifty Falls State Park puts on a few nice walks thru the park in the spring but the area around the park is definitely being underutilized  and some sort of  leadership from city and state government needs to step up and promote the beauty that surrounds us here in Madison.

But if local government can’t get the job rolling maybe it’s time for the people in the private sector to take it into their hands and get the ball rolling and then maybe it would get noticed by someone higher up in the food chain and then we could give an already beautiful and Historic Madison another piece in the economic game of tourism dollars !!

Thanks for listening to my rant and here are just a couple of the beautiful examples of the area we call home !


“Clifty Falls Wildflowers”

Thought I might share another photo, this time a wildflower from early spring, early spring wildflowers seems like an eternity ago now but here it goes anyway. I shot this beautiful little wildflower in Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana along one of the trails that crisscross the park.

Blue Eyed Mary’s are one of my favorite wildflowers to shoot because of the beautiful blue color and also the small delicate structure of the plant make it a great subject as well. These wonderful wildflowers can usually be found in early spring along rocky creek bottoms and along gently sloping hillsides, they are very easy to miss as you hike the woodlots and canyon floors because of the very small size of this plant but once you find them their color alone makes up for their size.

This particular subject’s bloom was a bit larger then a pea  and not an easy subject to photograph but after a little work I finally was able to bring out all the structure and color in this beautiful subject.

So if you ever get up to Clifty falls in the spring take the time to hunt for this little gem you will be glad you did, thanks for stopping by and taking a look, and as always click on the image for best viewing !!






“Wild Columbine”

Here is another wildflower image from this past spring, even though the spring wildflower season turned out to be less than a stellar one , I did manage to get a few note worthy images. I shot this beautiful Wild Columbine at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana between thunderstorms and wind<,imagine that, it was situated in a crevice in a large boulder that helped keep the light and wind at bay.

Clifty Falls has an enormous amount of Columbines in the park due to the large boulders that dot the landscape there, if you ever need a good place to shoot them definitely give Clifty Falls a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Columbines are truly hard to photograph due to how the bloom hangs out and away from the main plant, making even the slightest breeze seem like a Tornado, you need to find  a still day or a protected  environment to get a quality shot, they tend to grow in and around rock crevices, so finding these areas would make for  a great place to find and start shooting them.

Here is some more info from Wikipedia ….

Aquilegia canadensis (Canadian or Canada Columbine, Eastern Red Columbine, wild columbine, honeysuckle) is a herbaceous perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern North America, prized for its red and yellow flowers. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus.

Height is 15–90 cm (6–35 in). Leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems.

Flowers are 1-2 inches long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring, nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds.

The caterpillars of Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves.

The plant is easily propagated from seed and blooms the second year. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture.

The cultivar ‘Little Lanterns’ is half the height of the species.

Native American tribes used various parts red columbine in herbal remedies.

I hope you liked the photo and info, thanks for stopping by and taking a look, click on the image for best viewing !!


“Clifty Falls Toadshade (Trillium)”

Now how is that a name for a wildflower “Toadshade”….According to Wikipedia..

Trillium sessile (Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin) is a perennial spring wildflower native to the central part of the eastern United States and the Ozarks. It is a small trillium (rarely over 9 cm tall). Toadshade can be distinguished from other trilliums by its single foul smelling, stalkless, flower nestled in the middle of its three leaves. The three maroon petals, maintain a “closed” posture throughout its presence, the petals are occasionally pale green. The leaves are sometimes, but not always mottled with shades of light and dark green. Its species name comes from the Latin word sessilis which means low sitting, and refers to its stalkless flower.

T. sessile is most common in rich moist woods but also can be found in rich forests, limestone woods, flood plains, along fence rows. It is persistent under light pasturing.[2] The foul smelling flowers attract its primary pollinators, flies and beetles.[3] The flowers are present from April-June. This plant is clump forming from a thick rhizome. The above ground parts of the plant die back by mid-summer, but may persist longer in areas that do not completely dry out.

Toadshade is listed as state threatened in Michigan and state endangered in New York; both states are on the northern edge of its range.[4]

I shot these cool little wildflowers at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana,I really liked how the late evening light bathed these other wise flat and ordinary flower with golden light, even these hardy wildflowers took a serious hit by the cold wet spring e have experienced here in Southern Indiana.  At last I was able to get this shot before they got frozen out, th same can’t be said for the other spcies of flowers but this one turn out alright.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, as always click on image for best view !!

“Spring Beauties”

Well it looks like the spring wildflower season is coming to a close and even though I did get a few nice images all in all this season has been one of the worst I have ever experienced. From the early season hard freezes with snow to the last couple weeks of severe weather with high winds as an almost daily occurrence it just hasn’t been a  stellar spring !!

I may try to get out tomorrow but after that it doesn’t look like anything else but Wild Columbines is left to bloom, and with this wind it would be almost impossible to get any shots of them at all, hopefully the weather will warm and maybe I can start shooting some of the early summer wildflowers that also grow in a great abundance in the Madison Indiana area.

But I still have a few images to share and today’s subject is Spring Beauty, according to Wikipedia

Claytonia virginica, the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy-spuds, is a flowering plant in the family Portulacaceae, native to eastern North America. It is found in moist woods and clearings. It is a trailing plant growing to 5-40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3-14 cm long and 5-13 mm broad, with a 6-20 cm long petiole. The flowers are 7-14 mm diameter, with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals, flowering is between March and May. Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).

I shot this beautiful little flower at Clifty Falls State Park in Southern Indiana, they were one flower along with the Violets that seemed to have thrived in the cold wet spring that we experienced this year, it always seems when one species struggles during the spring another one takes its spot for a great bloom…it just figures these were two flowers I wasn’t that crazy about !!

Well thanks for stopping by and taking a look , sorry I couldn’t share the real beauty of the spring bloom this year but with nature you just never know what is going to happen, for best view click on the image !!


“Dutchman’s Breeches”

Here is another image form my recent hikes to shoot wildflowers, this little jewel is called Dutchman’s Breeches, according to Wikipedia

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches) is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to rich woods of eastern North America, with a disjunct population in the Columbia River Basin.[1]

The common name Dutchman’s breeches derives from their white flowers that look like white breeches

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches)

Height is 15-40 cm. Root is a cluster of small pink to white teardrop-shaped bulblets. Leaves are 10-36 cm long and 4-18 cm broad, with a petiole up to 15 cm long; they are trifoliate, with finely divided leaflets.

Flowers are white, 1-2 cm long, and are born in spring on flower stalks 12-25 cm long.

Dutchman’s breeches is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.

The western populations have sometimes been separated as Dicentra occidentalis on the basis of often somewhat coarser growth, but do not differ from many eastern plants in the Appalachians.

I usually try to show the green foliage with this wildflower but on this image I went with an abstract extreme closeup, I purposely kept the nearest bloom in focus and then on the rest of the blooms I tried blurring each bloom as they faded away. It was just something a little different to keep my images form getting stale.

I shot this image at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana, I hope you enjoy the image and as usual click image for larger view, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!