Vitis riparia

recently added

Fagus grandifolia

Added 12/11/2022: American beech, Fagus grandifolia

Pinus resinosa

Added 10/25/2022: Red pine, Pinus resinosa

Alnus incana rugosa

Added 8/29/2022: Speckled alder, Alnus incana rugosa

Quercus rubra

Added 6/10/2022: Northern red oak, Quercus rubra

Asimina triloba

Added 5/3/2022: Three Midwestern Vanessas

Asimina triloba

Added 11/9/2021: Pawpaw, Asimina triloba

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa

Added 11/4/2021: Coral slime mold, Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa

Pinus strobus

Added 11/3/2021: Eastern white pine, Pinus strobus

Larix laricina

Added 11/2/2021: Tamarack, Larix laricina

Prunus serotina

Added 8/4/2021: Black cherry, Prunus serotina

Quercus alba

Added 7/3/2021: White oak, Quercus alba

Three easily confused spring flowers

Added 5/4/2021: Three easily confused spring flowers

Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, cedar-apple rust

Added 3/12/2021: Cedar-apple rust, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae

Monotropa uniflora, Indian pipes

Added 12/6/2020: Indian pipes, Monotropa uniflora

Arisaema dracontium, green dragon

Added 9/5/2020: Green dragon, Arisaema dracontium spp.

Stemonitis spp, chocolate tube slime mold

Added 9/3/2020: Chocolate tube slime mold, Stemonitis spp.

Larus delawarensis, ring-billed gull

Added 7/28/2020: Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis

Terrapene carolina, eastern box turtle

Added 5/30/2020: Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina.

Conopholis americana, cancer root

Added 5/19/2020: Cancer root, Conopholis americana.

Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's breeches

Added 5/13/2020: Dutchman's breeches, Dicentra cucullaria.

Daucus carota, Queen Anne's lace

Added 1/29/2020: Queen Anne's lace, Daucus carota.

Frasera caroliniensis, American columbo

Added 9/18/2019: American columbo, Frasera caroliniensis.

Acer negundo, box elder

Added 5/28/2019: box elder, Acer negundo.

Aculops rhois, poison ivy gall mite

Added 5/27/2019: poison ivy gall mite, Aculops rhois.

Toxicodendron radicans, poison ivy

Added 5/27/2019: poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans.

Cornus florida, flowering dogwood

Added 5/10/2019: flowering dogwood, Cornus florida.


Pictured above are the tendrils of Vitis riparia, known as "riverbank grape." It is a common species found throughout the Midwest—especially (but not only) along riverbanks.

Midwestnaturalist.com is the creation of Michael and Melissa Kuo, and our son, Will. We are not biologists (Michael is an English teacher, and Melissa is a banker), and we're definitely not professional photographers—but we love learning about the outdoors. If you have a question or a comment, please feel free to contact us at .

The Midwest is large and diverse, containing many different ecosystems. We are based in central Illinois, where the corn and soybean fields stretch to the horizons and the woods (primarily oak-hickory and cottonwood-sycamore forests) follow rivers and un-tillable land. In the northern Midwest, however, ecosystems range from beech-maple woods to cedar swamps and sub-boreal forests (among others), while in the southern Midwest one can find southern forest ecosystems and, in Kentucky and southern Ohio, Appalachian ecosystems, famous for their natural diversity. That's a lot to cover—but we love to travel, explore, and learn!

The information at our site is based on our own observations, with reference to an ever-growing collection of online and printed source material (see our references page) that we rely on for help with identifications and context.

Edibility and toxicity are not a primary focus for us; we think nature is much more engaging, important, and interesting than figuring out what happens to humans when they pass its organisms through their digestive systems. We will mention toxicity when it is reported by our sources, and edibility when we have actually tried eating whatever it is, but you should definitely consult a different source if your interests are culinary.


map of the Midwest

Mushrooms are not featured here because they are explored (for the Midwest and all of North America) at our companion site, MushroomExpert.Com.

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Site index

About us

     Acer negundo—(box elder)
     Acer rubrum—(red maple)
     Acer saccharinum—(silver maple)

Aculops rhois—(poison ivy gall mite)

Aix sponsa—(wood duck)

Alder—(Alnus incana rugosa)

Allodus podophylli—(mayapple rust)

Alnus incana rugosa—(speckled alder)

American beech—(Fagus grandifolia)

American columbo—(Frasera caroliniensis)

American lady—(Vanessa virginiensis)

American robin—(Turdus migratorius)

Aphis nerii—(oleander aphid)

Apocynum cannabinum—(dogbane)

     Arisaema dracontium—(green dragon)
     Arisaema triphyllum—(Jack-in-the-pulpit)

     Asclepias syriaca—(common milkweed)
     Asclepias tuberosa—(butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed)

Asimina triloba—(pawpaw)

Beech—(Fagus grandifolia)

Black cherry—(Prunus serotina)

Black swallowtail—(Papilio polyxenes)

Boisea trivittata—(box elder bug)

Box elder—(Acer negundo)

Box elder bug—(Boisea trivittata)

Box turtle—(Terrapene carolina)

Brown-headed cowbird—(Molothrus ater)

     Illinois bundleflower—(Desmanthus illinoensis)

Butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed—(Asclepias tuberosa)

Cancer root—(Conopholis americana)

     eastern redcedar—(Juniperus virginiana)

Cedar-apple rust—(Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa—(coral slime mold)

     black cherry—(Prunus serotina)

Chocolate tube slime mold—(Stemonitis spp.)

Chrysemys picta—(painted turtle)

Chrysochus auratus—(dogbane beetle)

Cirsium pitcheri—(dune thistle)

Columbo, American—(Frasera caroliniensis)

Conium maculatum—(poison hemlock)

Conopholis americana—(cancer root)

Contact—Please feel free to contact us at .

Coral slime mold—(Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa)

     double-crested cormorant—(Phalacrocorax auritus)

     Cornus drummondii—(rough-leaved dogwood)
     Cornus florida—(flowering dogwood)

Cottonwood—(Populus deltoides)

Creeping Charlie—(Glechoma hederacea)

Cycnia inopinatus—(unexpected Cycnia)

Danaus plexippus—(monarch butterfly)

Daucus carota—(Queen Anne's lace)

Desmanthus illinoensis—(Illinois bundleflower)

Dicentra cucullaria—(Dutchman's breeches)

Dog vomit slime mold—(Fuligo septica)

Dogbane—(Apocynum cannabinum)

Dogbane beetle—(Chrysochus auratus)

     flowering dogwood—(Cornus florida)
     rough-leaved dogwood—(Cornus drummondii)

Dune thistle—(Cirsium pitcheri)

Dutchman's breeches—(Dicentra cucullaria)

Eastern box turtle—(Terrapene carolina)

Eastern larch—(Larix laricina)

Eastern phoebe—(Sayornis phoebe)

Eastern white pine—(Pinus strobus)

Euchaetes egle—(milkweed tiger moth)

Fagus grandifolia—(American beech)

     Frasera caroliniensis—(American columbo)
     Frasera speciosa—(monument plant))

Fuligo spetica—(dog vomit slime mold)

Glechoma hederacea—(creeping Charlie)

Green dragon—(Arisaema dracontium)

Green gentian—(Frasera speciosa)

     riverbank grape—(Vitis riparia)

     ring-billed gull—(Larus delawarensis)

Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae—(cedar-apple rust)

Henbit—(Lamium amplexicaule)


Illinois bundleflower—(Desmanthus illinoensis)

Indian pipes—(Monotropa uniflora)

Jack-in-the-pulpit—(Arisaema triphyllum)

Jack-in-the-pulpit rust—(Uromyces ari-triphylli)

Juniperus virginiana—(eastern redcedar)

Lamium amplexicaule—(henbit)

Lamium purpureum—(purple deadnettle)

Large milkweed bug—(Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Larch—(Larix laricina)

Larix laricina—(tamarack, eastern larch)

Larus delawarensis—(ring-billed gull)

Libellula luctuosa—(widow skimmer)

Limenitis archippus—(viceroy butterfly)

Lycogala epidendrum—(wolf's milk slime mold)

Lycogala flavofuscum—(slime mold)

     red maple—(Acer rubrum)
     silver maple—(Acer saccharinum)

Mayapple—(Podophyllum peltatum)

Mayapple rust—(Allodus podophylli)

     butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed—(Asclepias tuberosa)
     common milkweed—(Asclepias syriaca)

Milkweed tiger moth—(Euchaetes egle)

Molothrus ater—(brown-headed cowbird)

Monarch butterfly—(Danaus plexippus)

Monotropa uniflora—(Indian pipes)

Monument plant—(Frasera speciosa)

     northern red oak—(Quercus rubra)
     white oak—(Quercus alba)

Oleander aphid—(Aphis nerii)

Oncopeltus fasciatus—(large milkweed bug)

Painted lady—(Vanessa cardui)

Painted turtle—(Chrysemys picta ater)

Papilio polyxenes—(black swallowtail)

Pawpaw—(Asimina triloba)

Phalacrocorax auritus—(double-crested cormorant)

Phoebe—(Sayornis phoebe)

Phytolacca americana—(pokeweed)

     eastern white pine—(Pinus strobus)
     red pine—(Pinus resinosa)

     Pinus resinosa—(red pine)
     Pinus strobus—(eastern white pine)

Podophyllum peltatum—(mayapple)

Poison hemlock—(Conium maculatum)

Poison ivy—(Toxicodendron radicans)

Poison ivy gall mite—(Aculops rhois)

Pokeweed—(Phytolacca americana)

Populus deltoides—(eastern cottonwood)

Prunus serotina—(black cherry)

Purple deadnettle—(Lamium purpureum)

Queen Anne's lace—(Daucus carota)

     Quercus alba—(white oak)
     Quercus rubra—(northern red oak)

Red admiral—(Vanessa atalanta)

Red milkweed beetle—(Tetraopes tertophthalmus)

Red pine—(Pinus resinosa)

References — List of resources consulted and/or cited

Rhytisma americanum—(tar spot of maple)

Ring-billed gull—(Larus_delawarensis)

Robin—(Turdus migratorius)

     cedar-apple rust—(Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae
     Jack-in-the-pulpit rust—(Uromyces ari-triphylli)
     mayapple rust—(Allodus podophylli)

Sayornis phoebe—(eastern phoebe)

Slime mold:
     chocolate tube slime mold—(Stemonitis spp.)
     coral slime mold—(Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa)
     dog vomit slime mold—(Fuligo septica)
     (no common name)—(Lycogala flavofuscum)
     wolf's milk slime mold—(Lycogala epidendrum)

     Sonchus asper—(prickly sowthistle)
     Sonchus oleraceus—(common sowthistle)

     common sowthistle—(Sonchus oleraceus)
     prickly sowthistle—(Sonchus asper)

Speckled alder—(Alnus incana rugosa)

Stemonitis spp.—(choclate tube slime mold)

     black swallowtail—(Papilio_polyxenes)

Tamarack—(Larix laricina)

Tar spot of maple—(Rhytisma americanum)

Terrapene carolina—(eastern box turtle)

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus—(red milkweed beetle)

Three easily confused spring flowers

Toxicodendron radicans—(poison ivy)

Turdus migratorius—(American robin)

     eastern box turtle—(Terrapene carolina)
     painted turtle—(Chrysemys picta)

Unexpected Cycnia—(Cycnia inopinatus)

Uromyces ari-triphylli—(Jack-in-the-pulpit rust)

     Vanessa atalanta—(red admiral)
     Vanessa cardui—(painted lady)
     Vanessa virginiensis—(American lady)

Viceroy butterfly—(Limenitis archippus)

Vitis riparia—(riverbank grape)

White pine—(Pinus strobus)

Widow skimmer—(Libellula luctuosa)

Wolf's milk slime mold—(Lycogala epidendrum)

Wood duck—(Aix sponsa)


Papilio polyxenes, black swallowtail

Added 1/20/2019: Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.

Desmanthus illinoensis, Illinois bundleflower

Added 12/23/2018: Illinois bundleflower, Desmanthus illinoensis.

Sayornis phoebe, eastern phoebe

Added 12/20/2018: Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe.

Juniperus virginiana, eastern redcedar

Added 11/25/2018: Eastern redcedar, Juniperus virginiana.

Lycogala epidendrum, wolf's milk slime mold

Added 11/17/2018: Wolf's milk slime mold, Lycogala epidendrum.

Cirsium pitcheri, dune thistle

Added 7/31/2018: Dune thistle, Cirsium pitcheri.

Vitis riparia, riverbank grape

Added 7/19/2018: Riverbank grape, Vitis riparia.

Podophyllum peltatum, mayapple

Added 5/1/2018: Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum.

Allodus podophylli, mayapple rust

Added 5/1/2018: Mayapple rust, Allodus podophylli.

Phalacrocorax auritus, double-crested cormorant

Added 4/21/2018: Double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus.

Conium maculatum, poison hemlock

Added 4/17/2018: Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum.

Fuligo septica, dog vomit slime mold

Added 4/13/2018: Dog vomit slime mold, Fuligo septica.

Sonchgus oleraceus, common sowthistle

Added 12/20/2017: Common sowthistle, Sonchus oleraceus.

Sonchus asper, prickly sowthistle

Added 12/20/2017: Prickly sowthistle, Sonchus asper.

Cornus drummondii, rough-leaved dogwood

Added 10/20/2017: Rough-leaved dogwood, Cornus drummondii.

Chrysemys picta, painted turtle

Added 10/8/2017: Painted turtle, Chrysemys picta.

Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-pulpit

Added 9/25/2017: Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum.

Rhytisma americanum, tar spot of maple

Added 9/18/2017: Tar spot of maple, Rhytisma americanum.

Acer rubrum, red maple

Added 9/18/2017: Red maple, Acer rubrum.

Acer saccharinum, silver maple

Added 9/18/2017: Silver maple, Acer saccharinum.

Danaus plexippus, monarch

Added 9/9/2017: Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus.

Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed

Added 9/9/2017: Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Turdus migratorius, American robin

Added 8/23/2017: American robin, Turdus migratorius

Kuo, Michael & Melissa Kuo (2022). Midwestnaturalist.com homepage. Retrieved from the midwestnaturalist.com website: www.midwestnaturalist.com/index.html

All text and images © , midwestnaturalist.com