The road less traveled, in this case through a beautiful northern forest near the shore of Lake Huron, in northern Michigan's Presque Isle County. A very special plant is common here, and we were indeed fortunate that our recent birding and botany foray here coincided with peak bloom for this extremely range-restricted species.
It occurs in perhaps a dozen counties in Michigan, all along the shores of lakes Huron and Michigan, and the tiny iris doesn't stray more than a stone's throw from the shoreline. The word lacustris - the specific epithet of the plant's scientific name - means "of lakes". Populations are scattered and local. There are a few populations along the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, primarily on the Door Peninsula, and perhaps a few sites on the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario, Canada. That's it.
This is a plant that had long fired my imagination, and was high on my botanical wish list. It was very gratifying to finally get to see Iris lacustris on its home turf - the cool rocky limestone pavements along the wild boggy shoreline of northern Lake Huron.