Skip to main content

Ohio Botanical Symposium: March 27

Tis the season for event promotion. And here's another one well worth a plug, and well worth attending. The Ohio Botanical Symposium, which like some primroses is now a biennial event, takes the stage on Friday, March 27 at the beautiful Villa Milano Conference Center in Columbus. CLICK HERE for details, and registration. If memory serves, the botanical symposium was started over 20 years ago by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. We had about 40 people at the inaugural event. Attendance grew by leaps and bounds, requiring regular shifts to larger venues. The Villa Milano can handle about 400 people, and the remaining spaces for this year's conference are rapidly dwindling. Register soon. It usually fills up.

The keynote is Dr. Robbin Moran of the New York Botanical Garden. He authored the book A Natural History of Ferns, and will discuss the interesting hidden lives of Ohio's most interesting ferns. Another easterner, Dr. Cynthia Morton of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, will discuss urban forests and their importance. Bob Glotzhober, emeritus natural history curator of the Ohio Historical Society, will talk about the amazing botanical diversity of one of Ohio's most iconic natural areas, Cedar Bog. The "Garden Sage" herself, Debra Knapke, will wax eloquent about the state's edible plants, including ones that you can grow. Phlox is always a crowd-pleaser, and among their ranks are some of our greatest botanical eye candy. Peter Zale will give the lowdown on this colorful group. The synopsis of "Ohio's Best Botanical Finds" is always a crowd-pleaser at the botanical symposium. Andrew Gibson will detail the very best of new native plant discoveries of the last two years, which include rediscoveries of plants thought gone from the state, and plants never before found within Ohio's borders.

Your narrator is a last minute pinch-hitter, filling in for a speaker whose extenuating circumstances preclude involvement with this year's symposium. Fortunately, the subject is one that I have a passing knowledge of: goldenrods. This group is among the most beautiful and important of Midwestern plants, and I'll attempt to sell their virtues.

Ohio Goldenrod, Oligoneuron (Solidago) ohioense, one of two species of goldenrods originally discovered in the Buckeye State. Woven into the fibers of our goldenrods is some fascinating human history, and I hope to touch on some of that.

The striking lemony flowers of Wrinkled-leaf Goldenrod, Solidago rugosa, form a showy pyramidal inflorescence. Collectively, goldenrods can form a dominant part of the vegetative biomass in certain habitats, and their abundant nectar and pollen serve an abundance of insect life.

Wherever nectar-seeking bugs gather, you can be sure that predators will be waiting. In the case of goldenrods, several species of insects (and spiders), such as this Goldenrod Ambush Bug, have coevolved with goldenrod and match their substrate to a remarkable degree.

Other insects use goldenrod tissue for food, and nurseries. Perhaps you've seen these swollen protrusions on the stems of Tall Goldenrod, Solidago altissima. They're the work of the tiny Goldenrod Gall Fly. The fly's grub is seemingly safely ensconced within the hard growth of plant tissue. But alas - no one is safe! A Downy Woodpecker has drilled into the gall and excavated the tasty grub. Just one of many ecological chains formed by goldenrods.

Again, complete conference info is RIGHT HERE.


Anonymous said…
I am hoping the goldenrod guide will still be available. The aster guide is great. Brian
Ron Gamble said…
I'm registered, and like Brian, I'm hoping Sigrid Neilsen has a goldenrod guide and booklet available ... Her asters help was great.

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Snowy owl photography tactics - and things NOT to do

A gorgeous juvenile female snowy owl briefly catches your narrator with its piercing gaze. It's doing its Linda Blair/Exorcist trick - twisting its head 180 degrees to look straight behind. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae - double our number - which allows them such flexibility.

These visitors from the high arctic have irrupted big time into Ohio and adjacent regions, with new birds coming to light nearly every day. Probably 80 or so have thus far been reported in the state, and some of them have stuck around favored spots and become local celebrities.

I went to visit one of these birds this morning - the animal above, which was found last Friday by Doug Overacker and Julie Karlson at C.J. Brown Reservoir near Springfield. In the four days since its discovery, many people have visited as is nearly always the case when one of these white wonders appears near a large population center or is otherwise very accessible.

And as is always the case, people want to photograph the owls. And th…