This is an indicator species, meaning if it's present in a preserve, that's an indication of it being a high quality woodland. Blue-eyed Mary is common in northeastern Illinois and, while it appears in other parts of the state, it's not nearly as abundant.
If you're in a preserve looking for them, mid- to late spring is the time, and there's about a three-week window to spot these beauties along wooded lower slopes or along woodland paths.
They attract a variety of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, long-horned bees and butterflies.
(Lead image by Chad Merda)
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