Sunday, February 17, 2013

Think Plants!

Daughmer Savanna in Crawford County, one of Ohio's newest state nature preserves. The Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) was instrumental in assuring the long-term protection of this stunning site, along with the Crawford County Park District.

DNAP, along with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and other partners, hosts the Ohio Botanical Symposium, which will be held on Friday, April 5th. This is the 13th year for the symposium, which began with about 35 people in a classroom at Ohio State University. From humble beginnings it has mushroomed into a can't-miss 400+ person botanical extravaganza. It's held at the Villa Milano in Columbus, and does fill up, so get your tickets soon. Organizers have put together another excellent agenda, as can be seen HERE, along with registration information. Don't dawdle; the symposium is an outstanding way to start the spring.

A snippet of the 65,000 acre Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. Hard to believe this is the Buckeye State, eh? If you've read this blog with any regularity you've probably seen some of the scores of posts that I've made about Shawnee and its flora and fauna over the years. This is one of the best wilderness areas in the Midwest, and coupled with the (nearly) adjacent Edge of Appalachia Preserve, there is some 80,000 acres to roam.

The area teems with rare flora, and a staggering abundance of more common plants. A visit to Shawnee and vicinity is always rewarding, and once you've been once, you're almost certain to visit again. The best indoctrination into Shawnee and its multitude of nooks and crannies is with experts who know it well: enter Flora-Quest. This field trip focused botanical event will soon host its 7th consecutive conference the weekend of May 3-5. Early May is the peak of spring wildflowers, and by the end of F-Q your mind will be spinning at all of the magnificent plants that you'll have encountered. If you've got a camera, your cards will be stuffed with megabytes of digitized botanical beauties.

Space is rather limited at F-Q, and it does fill up, so this is another event to sign onto soon. All of the details are RIGHT HERE.

Although it is 20 degrees as I write this, the signs of spring are everywhere and the days quickly grow longer. By the time the two events plugged above roll around, flowering plants will be in evidence everywhere. Following is a pictorial taste of what's to come...

Cross-vine, Bignonia capreolata, Adams County, Ohio, April 7th, 2012. The other, better looking Trumpet-creeper!

Striped Maple, Acer pensylvanicum, April 15, 2012, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. An endangered species in Ohio.

Birdfoot Violet, Viola pedata, April 25, 2012, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio. Flora-questers will get to see this beauty, which is arguably the showiest violet in North America.

Painted Trillium, Trillium undulatum, May 1, 2012, Monongehala National Forest, West Virginia. Another Ohio endangered species.

Pink Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium acaule, May 1, 2012, Babcock State Park, West Virginia. This stunning orchid is locally common in Shawnee State Forest and if you're at Flora-Quest you'll see 'em.

Dwarf Iris, Iris verna, May 3, 2008, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio. A roadside bank just a stone's throw from the state park lodge is blanketed with this Ohio threatened species, which is our only upland species of Iris.

Carolina Catchfly, Silene caroliniana, May 5, 2007, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio. These botanical stunners grow on nearly barren shaley hillsides and their brilliant flowers are jarring against the stark backdrop.

Spider Milkweed, Asclepias viridis, May 25, 2009, Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Adams County, Ohio. This large-flowered milkweed grows in prairie barrens and is sometimes known by the whimsical name "Green Antelopehorn".

Green Cottongrass, Eriophorum viridicarinatum, June 8, 2005, Cedar Bog, Urbana, Ohio. This rarity is confined to fens in Ohio, and is not a grass, but a sedge.

Crested Coralroot, Hexalectris spicata, July 14, 2012, prairie in Adams County, Ohio. One of forty-six native orchid species in Ohio (there is one well established nonnative species).

Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana, August 19, 2011, Willow Point Wildlife Area, Ohio. The curious common name stems from the flowers, which can be twisted around the stem as if on an axle, and will remain where placed.

Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, August 31, 2011, Crane Hollow State Nature Preserve, Ohio. Easily in the top tier of our most striking wildflowers, the specimen in this photo was particularly engaging - it stood about seven feet tall!

Climbing Fern, Lygodium palmatum, September 15, 2007, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio. This strange fern is rare and local in southeastern Ohio. The broader leaves are sterile; the tiny lacy leaves are the fertile spore-bearing leaves.

Fringed Gentian, Gentianopsis virgata, October 6, 2012, Betsch Fen, Ohio. A fitting grand finale to Ohio's botanical season, but there is much to see between now and the gentian's closure to the season.


Mike Fitts said...

Can't wait! Going to both of them for the first time!

Anonymous said...

hello Jim. Great post of Flowers. Spring (and other seasons) in Ohio is especially beautiful! Shawnee a great special area. Stay warm. Gary Wayne

Jim McCormac said...

Thanks Gary, and bully for you, Michael - glad you're making those scenes!

Great Blue Heron, with ornamental plumes

  A Great Blue Heron, a very common wading bird and a species all of us are undoubtedly familiar with. It's never productive to get jade...