Just a few weeks ago now Mrs. T., Baron and I took our last hike together. We were looking for shooting stars. Not the kind that one looks up into the night sky to find but instead in a very special place. That place was a few miles south of us across the Iowa border. Near Chester is a remnant of America’s frontier past. It’s a three hundred plus acre plot of never tilled land. It’s called Hayden Prairie.
The preserve is named after Ada Hayden, who was the first woman to receive a doctorate at Iowa State College (now called Iowa State University). Her doctorate was earned in 1918, making her the fourth student, male or female, to obtain a Ph.D. at Iowa State College. In 1920 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Botany at Iowa State. Teaching probably occupied a great deal of her time until 1934, when her appointment was changed to a research position in the Agriculture Experiment Station.
She devoted herself to prairie preservation and research and wrote 29 papers, most dealing with Iowa flora. She campaigned for a system of prairie preserves. Take a look……
Dodecatheon meadia (Midland Shooting Star)
Midland Shooting Star, or often called just 'Shooting Star', is one of several varieties found in the Upper Midwest. It is a strong bloomer with a few dozen flowers often coming out of each plant; especially in moist rich soils. The color variation that naturally occurs in any population of Midland Shooting Star ranges from purple to pale pink to almost white.
There were literally thousands of shooting stars in this magical place. I'll post an unusual prairie plant in my next post.