A number of car trips recently have reminded me how beautiful Wisconsin is. The local flora has evidently taken well to the damp weather, and the rolling countryside is green and lush, with some grasses and the occasional field of oats already shading to the gold of ripeness. The colors of the roadside are yellow, white, and purple. This year there is a particularly common brilliant yellow flower that lines the verges almost everywhere, that I haven’t been able to identify since it is only along the freeways where I dare not stop. Where it has not been cut, it grows spindly and tall, but seems happy to be cut back to a few inches high as well. It blooms brilliantly and profusely either way, joined by goldenrods, butter-and-eggs, wild mustards, and the occasional—but fortunately not-too-frequent—outcropping of the invasive cow parsnip. For white, we have wild carrot and Queen Anne’s lace, accompanied by the small sunbursts of the wild chrysanthemum. Violet is represented by the tall thistles, red clover, coneflowers, vervain, the crown vetch that has been profusely planted to hold soil, and the bluish asters that retain their color into November and are the last of the wild weeds to continue to bloom. It’s only been the last few years that I have noticed that we don’t seem to have any red wildflowers, and I wonder why this is. When we visit the remnants of the Wisconsin prairies, there are the brilliant orange hawkweeds, butterfly plants, and the buckeye daisies with their russet centers, but no red flowers. Even the feral lilies that cover some hillsides are all orange. Curious.