Door County Wildflowers


Watercress © 2008 Bo Mackison

Watercress (nasturtium officinale) is an aquatic plant, this one found near the shores of Lake Michigan. It is edible – the leaves are high in Vitamins A and C and iron, and was a popular plant with the early settlers of North America as it was a successful treatment and preventative of scurvy. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought eating the plant increased mental functions. It is still widely used in cooking – added to salads and sandwiches for a spicy and tangy flavor and also made into watercress soup. The flowers are savory and used as edible garnishes.

Dwarf Lake Iris

Dwarf Lake Iris © 2008 Bo Mackison

This 3 to 4 inch high Dwarf Lake Iris (iris lacustris) is found near the northern shores of The Great Lakes where it grows in the limey soil and in the cool climate. It only grows in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan. I probably saw a thousand of these flowers on my recent visit to Door County in northern Wisconsin, but the flowers are actually rare and on the threatened list of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It has a very limited habitat and that is shrinking because of shoreline development and the use of off-road vehicle and chemical pesticides.

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry © 2013 Bo Mackison

This is Wild or Common Strawberry (fragaria virginiana) a variety of the plant which produces the familiar bright red strawberry. The cultivated plant is a hybrid of this native plant and the South American variety. Native Americans used the juice of the strawberry for an eye remedy, and herbalists still use the roots to treat kidney stones and gonorrhea. It is a common plant in Door County, flowering in May and June in meadows, fields, woodlands and setting its berries in June.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Ron in L.A. says:

    top photo is beautiful Bo 😉

    R (etc… )

  2. rlovison says:


    The first and second images are my favorites. I love the lightened edge effect in the first along with the shallow depth of field.

  3. Bo
    You take good photo of flowers. Nice to view big and colorful flowers. I must learn and find out the secret from you. Do visit my blog and give me some tips on taking better flower pictures.

  4. I love the blue iris. I guess I have to go to Michigan or Wisconsin to get a view of one.

  5. Oh, I love the Dwarf Lake Iris! Gosh, those are gorgeous! Very, very nice capture, Bo.

    I’ve been out photographing wild strawberries. I haven’t posted any photos of them yet. Neat info… I didn’t know the Native Americans used the strawberry juice for eye remedies. 🙂

  6. Great trio of wild flower shots!

  7. montucky says:

    That Iris is very beautiful! It’s interesting in that it is much different from the ones we have here, but the strawberry is nearly identical to one of our species.

  8. Gandalf says:

    Love the Iris. I wonder if you have some hidden sanctuary with all sorts of endangered flowers. You indeed have a talent for finding and shooting some very amazing specimens.

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