This is what most of our property currently looks like. Lots of Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima). Underneath the goldenrod, Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is abundant and Hungarian Brome (Bromus inermis) is common, but there are several other species that are consistently showing up in my sampling quadrats: Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), White Avens (Geum canadense), Rough Avens (Geum laciniatum var. trichocarpum), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Panicled Aster (Aster simplex), and others.
At the far west end of our property, trees such as American Elm (Ulmus americana) and Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) have begun to recolonize the land. This portion of our property currently looks like this...
Quadrat sampling is unparalleled in terms of methodology for compiling a complete plant inventory for a site. Sure, a reasonably complete site inventory can be conducted by reconnaissance surveys, but smaller species, seedlings, and those underneath the dense growth of herbaceous vegetation can easily be missed. When sampling quadrats, however, one is on their hands and knees, wading through taller vegetation to ensure that no species within a given quadrat goes unrecorded.
That's how I discovered the plant pictured above this afternoon. This is Purple Twayblade (Liparis liliifolia), the second orchid species that we've found on our property (the first was Platanthera lacera). So far, I've located two populations of Purple Twayblade on our property; one of simply a single plant, which I found in a quadrat under lush growth of herbaceous species, and one of 20+ plants in an area being colonized by trees. The two photos below show flowering Purple Twayblade in Griffith, Indiana on June 7, 2005.
Before we bought our property, if someone had told me that there was an orchid on the land, this is the one I would have guessed first, as it is able to withstand and often thrive in disturbed soils. Purple Twayblade grows in dry to moist soils in both forests and old-fields. According to Mike Homoya's Orchids of Indiana, this species is most commonly found in well-drained, mildly acidic soils supporting young regrowth forest on land previously pastured or cropped. I have observed Purple Twayblade on several occasions in these exact conditions.