Jul. 15, 2021

rock sandwort, Minuartia michauxii

Why don't we just call this rockwort? And today the rocks are as much the subject as the plants. Those rocks are part of an alvar. Alvars are areas where the bedrock has been exposed by glacial activity and erosion. At the north end of Drummond Island is an alvar called Maxton Plains. It's a couple thousand acres left exposed by the last glaciation. As the ice receded it left bare rock under what would be Lake Huron. Then the absence of that weight allowed Miichigan the slowly rise, and Maxton Plains was born. As the water receded more scouring occurred. Now it is an area of exposed rock or thin soil, much of it without trees. In this image, the areas between bits of gravel are bedrock. The area places extreme demands on plants that would live there. There's not much food or water, and lots of minerals in what is available. Rock sandwort is one of the tough little bits of life that grow in the most extreme spots. These flowers are not much over a quarter inch across. It can be found in rocky areas in AK, AL, AR, CT, DE, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, MB, ON, and QC. Chippewa Co MI, 6/20/21. Pink family, Caryophyllaceae.