On a recent hike on one of the bluff prairies, a new species was identified- cream or yellow gentian:
This is a new species added to the list Friends of the Blufflands and The Prairie Enthusiasts are recording for the bluffs that are being restored near La Crosse, joining stiff gentian as the second gentian found. It was previously listed as threatened in Wisconsin but was recently delisted when it was found to be more common than thought. It still, however, is an exciting find! Cream or yellow gentian, known as Gentiana alba in Wisconsin but Gentiana flavida in Minnesota, grows 1-3 feet tall and has flowers that are cream or yellowish white, unlike most other gentians which are a vivid blue. Note the stalkless leaves in the photo that are clasping the stem and have three veins, all characteristic of this plant. It blooms in late summer and is a favorite of bumblebees which are the primary pollinators. We will visit this plant later when it's in bloom and hope to see the bumblebees doing a good job pollinating this lone plant so it spreads to other areas!