Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Wildflowers

We are nearing peak bloom for woodland wildflowers, and I visited a fantastic place to see them today. This show doesn't last long - vernal woodland herbs flourish before the overaching canopy leafs out and shades them out.

The photos below are a sampling of what I saw today, and I downloaded them at a higher resolution than I typically do. If you click on an image, they should enlarge to fill the screen.

Daniel Boone on a steep mesic slope covered with an amazing diversity of flora. This site is in Hamilton County, west of Cincinnati and almost to Indiana. The day was cool and drizzly, which makes for some great conditions for photography but is tougher on the photographer. Dan - that really is his name - is one of Ohio's premier field botanists, and he showed me some very interesting sites and some great plants.

One of the first plants we stumbled into was Fern-leaved Scorpionweed, Phacelia bipinnatifida. A rarity in Ohio, this species just nips into the southwestern corner of the state.

Dry bluffs were festooned with Early Saxifrage, Saxifraga virginiensis.

One of our most beautiful wildflower spectacles is colonies of False Rue-anemone, Isopyrum biternatum.

The hillside that Dan is standing on in the first photo was covered with this native poppy, Wood Poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum.

Generally scarcer than the similar Dutchmen's-breeches is this Squirrel-corn, Dicentra canadensis.

Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia verna. Sometimes this short-lived herb will blanket vast swaths of floodplain forest.

Miami-mist, Phacelia purshii. Note the odd fringed petals of this member of the waterleaf family.

Core's Chickweed, Stellaria corei. Another similar, common species is Star Chickweed, Stellaria pubera.

Creamy White Violet, Viola striata. Violet identification can be tricky, but this is an easy one. If you choose, be lumper and reduce the violets to three species: white, blue, and yellow.

Our state tree was in full bloom, the Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra. This is about the only time in its life cycle that the thing looks good. They even smell bad.

The main target of the expedition, and we hit it just right. This is perhaps our rarest trillium, Prairie Wakerobin, Trillium recurvatum. This westerner barely reaches Ohio. It was a life plant for me.

The odd maroon flower resembles the common, widespread Toadshade, Trillium sessile, but the leaves have a petiolate base, as do the flower petals. Prairie Wakerobin is much more robust overall, too.

Dan showed me the only colony of Shooting-star, Dodecatheon meadia, in Hamilton County and it was at peak bloom. This stunner is uncommon and local in Ohio.

A real treat were these rose-colored forms mixed in with the typical white-flowered plants.

Get out and enjoy spring as it will slip by in the blink of an eye!


Jenn Jilks said...

Glorious shots! Great to see flowers.

Dawn Fine said...

The wildflowers are amazing there! Just beautiful..It was fun to click on the photos to see more of their beauty.
Thanks for sharing thier names and information

Kathi said...

Blue-eyed Mary! One of my very favorite wildflowers, and I miss it more years than I find it.

Where were you? East of Cinti or on the west side, since you were almost in Indiana? If was the east side, that's my stomping grounds, and I'd love to find that hillside (unless it is private property, of course.)


Jana said...


Janet Creamer Martin said...

Very nice shots. I like the raindrops.

I did not realize Trillium recurvatum, what we call Prairie Trillium, was so rare in Ohio. We have it all over the place here in Indiana. I will have to watch for it when I am home in Ohio. The Fern-leaved Scorpionweed looks really cool. That would be a new one for me.

Jim McCormac said...

I am glad that you all like these flower shots. And sorry, KatDoc, I meant WEST side of Cinci, not east. Do you know Kathy McDonald, Ned Keller's wife? If so, get in touch with her as she knows just where the site is, and I believe will be making a trip there soon. I'm sure you could tag along on the foray.


Bill of the Birds said...

This is why we call you Ohio's Botanical Incredible Hulk! Awesome pix and info, Jimbo.

Anonymous said...

awesome, thats a wonderful collection of spring wild flowers. - ben warner


As always, click the image to enlarge At the onset of last Monday's aquatic expedition (perhaps more on that later) to Rocky Fork ...