The lushness of Adams Lake Prairie, 2008. Although the opening is small, it is packed with all manner of interesting and rare flora and fauna. The loop trail around the prairie is only a 1/4 mile or so in length; we spent two hours traversing it.
Finally, it was on the legendary Lynx Prairie, made famous by pioneering ecological studies by Ohio botanist Lucy Braun. This was the first acquisition by the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, in 1959, and one of the state's foremost naturalists, Paul Knoop, also owns part of Lynx. We could have spent all day here, so much is there to see. Above, Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana, dot a typical Lynx shortgrass prairie. The butterflies were insane here, and we saw lots of rare flora, including the odd American Aloe, Manfreda virginica, the only eastern species of a large group of western aloes.
The botanical climax, at least for me, was the discovery of seven plants of this very rare orchid. Crested Coral-root, Hexalectris spicata, is only known from a handful of Adams County sites, and is very easy to miss. All of the ones we found, excepting the above, were still young and in bud. The names stems from the root structures, which are coral-like and enwrapped in mycorrhizal fungi with which the orchid has a poorly understood symbiosis. Some years, the coral-roots remain dormant under the ground, In others, especially wet years, they burst forth and produce flowering stalks. We felt very fortunate to see this magnificent specimen.