This was taken April 27.
And the photo below, a little ways down the path, was taken May 22.
Look at the growth in prairie dropseed between April 27 and May 22...
...And look how the plants' growth changed the texture of the landscape.
In May the shooting stars remained--flourished--there were whole fields of 'em, not just hardy early-birds.
Here's a closeup of these pretty flowers.
Compass plant and prairie dock had emerged. I think of these large-and-distinctive-leaved plants as anchors or signposts in the prairie reefscape.
Wild hyacinth was also growing with abandon. Apparently deer love to snack on the stuff, so it's hard to come by in the forest preserves--I guess deer are not allowed in Morton. Some wood betony remained, but it was fading, and cream false indigo was ascending in its place.
High, strong plants looking exactly like asparagus were everywhere--I learned later, on the June walk, that these are young white false indigo.
Now, looking back at my April pictures, I can understand what's going on here.
It's prairie dropseed, with itty bitty sprouting cream wild indigo amongst its soft blades. How sweet! If my theory is correct, here's what this sort of arrangement grew into:
UPDATE: Thanks to Will Overbeck on the Habitat 2030 Facebook page for correcting my guess here...the young plant in the April picture is false toadflax, not cream indigo.
Here's a mystery for me...this is so distinct a plant, but I don't know what it is. Can someone tell me? Update: It's starry false solomon's seal. Thank you Daniel Suarez!