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Indiana Dunes Flower Quest—MAY

May is here! Time to head outdoors to see all of the amazing wildflowers that April showers have brought to the Indiana Dunes! 

The Indiana Dunes Flower Quest continues this May as new blossoms join the lovely spring ephemerals popping up throughout our region. How many can you spot before they disappear for another year?

Visit the Indiana Dunes Flower Quest homepage for important information, and then grab your camera and hit the trails! Be sure to share pictures of the treasures you spy at #DunesFlowerQuest.

Be sure to tag @indianadunes and use #dunesflowerquest.

Need some help identifying your discoveries?  Try identify.plantnet.org.

A Note on Invasive Wildflowers

The Indiana Dunes are home to so many beautiful wildflowers. Unfortunately, not all of them belong here. Over the years, non-native species have taken root in the region, crowding out native species that are crucial for supporting fragile ecosystems. The parks, non-profit organizations, and volunteers work diligently to restore these areas.

If you spot an invasive species, please leave it be: it takes careful oversight to remove these plants without damaging the area, and poison ivy, ticks, and sometimes even toxins from the plants themselves can be a hazard.

Dame's Violet

These lovely flowers were brought over from Europe as ornamental plants, and, as plants often do, escaped into the wild. While they look like a native plant, prairie phlox, the dame’s violet only has four petals instead of five. Several clusters of flowers will grow from the hairy stem.

Lily of the Valley

The attractive bell-shaped flowers of this non-native plant made it a sought-after addition to gardens. It proved to be as hardy as it is lovely, and it has spread to a number of wild habitats like those found in the Indiana Dunes. Its fragrance makes it valuable for the perfume industry, but it seems to offer little to most pollinators, and its toxicity keeps animals away, as well.

Yellow Iris

With its tall stems and sword-shaped leaves, the yellow iris is easily recognizable, and is a common part of many gardens. However, it has spread to more natural habitats including marshes and wetlands and can now be found in every state. Because it can be so difficult to control, some states have banned this flower.