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Indiana Dunes Flower Quest—SEPTEMBER

There’s an autumn chill in the air September mornings in the Indiana Dunes, but the beautiful wildflowers blooming this month dazzle like a ray of sunshine! Take another journey on the Indiana Dunes Flower Quest and see how many treasures you can spot as summer fades away.

How many of these fleeting wildflowers can you find? We’ve created an online reference below for you to track your progress. In the interest of being environmentally friendly, we encourage you to keep a mental note of your progress or take notes using your smart phone.

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.

Black Locust

Not all invasive plants have to come from overseas. Black Locusts are native to some parts of Indiana, but they don’t belong everywhere! These fast-growing trees spread so aggressively that they can quickly crowd out the local plants. Their bright flowers also compete with native plants for the attention of pollinators, while their towering branches prevent sunlight from reaching other plants.

Japanese Honeysuckle

These sweet-smelling plants have tough, woody vines that spread rapidly and survive through the winter. They thrive in wetland habitats like those found in the Indiana Dunes, forming thick mats that choke out other plants and wrapping around native trees and shrubs, shredding their protective bark in a process called girdling.

Mugwort

Also known as wormwood, this invasive plant can grow up to five feet tall! A single plant can produce as many as  200,000 seeds, and its dense underground root structure allows it to spread quickly and makes it very hard to remove. It smells bad when crushed, meaning animals like deer avoid grazing on it!

More Things to See & Do

Tales from the Dunes

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The Indiana Dunes National Park is 7th in the nation for vascular plant biodiversity and 3rd in the nation for species density. We pack a lot of flowers in a small space! Read these blogs for more of the story.

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