Yesterday, I made my first trip of spring to the wonderland that is Adams County, Ohio. Spring arrives much earlier down there than it does even 100 miles to the north, in Columbus where I live. I was looking forward to the opportunity to get a much-needed botanical fix, following a long largely chlorophyll-free winter.
There was another purpose to the trip. The Mothapalooza planning committee was convening to sketch out Mothapalooza 2019. Which we did and it should, this 6th Mothapalooza, be another fantastic affair. But as we weren't meeting until 3 pm, there was plenty of time beforehand to commune with Nature. I got down there not long after sunrise, then later that morning joined up with Mary Ann Barnett, Kim Banks, Judy Ganance, and Colleen Sharkey, fellow committee members all.
Following is a brief selection of some of yesterday's finds.
The trillium is growing on a gorgeous moss-cloaked limestone slump block that supported a vigorous colony of one of our strangest pteridophytes, the walking fern, Asplenium rhizophyllum. Those odd straplike leaves are the fern's fronds. The tips become greatly elongate, and eventually arch over and reconnect with the soil. New leaves sprout and "walk" to new points from these rooted tips.
Ohio Star Retreat Center around 3 pm, to meet with John Howard and the rest of planning committee to talk Mothapalooza. By the way, this retreat was just founded by John and his wife, Tina. If you are looking for an inexpensive but outstanding base station for exploring the many wonders of Adams County, such as the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, this is your place. CLICK HERE for more details.
John, as he often does, had brought along some interesting creatures for us to study and photograph. This is a fairy shrimp in the genus Eubranchipus. This is a female, and the dark sac-like structure in the center holds the eggs. Fairy shrimp can be common denizens of vernal pools in spring, and John got this animal from a nearby pool.
Although the temperatures weren't exactly toasty yesterday, it was the first excursion that I've made that truly smacked of spring, and offered the first native plant species I've seen this year. The botanical floodgates are ajar, and soon will burst open unleashing a deluge of spring wildflowers.