Saturday, June 1, 2013

Some Wildflowers from Adams County

Part II of the Adams County trip, except this post is dedicated to the wildflowers I found. Part I can be found here.

Adams County is wonderful for wildflowers, and when it comes to rarities for Ohio, it's chocked full of them. Adams County has special ecological characteristics when it comes to Ohio. As my previous post pointed out, Adams County is part of the Bluegrass Region, has cedar barrens resulting in pocket prairies, and more. Many species of southern plants are found here and are at the northern edge of their range as well, leading to an interesting mix of North meets South.

This was the star (no pun intended) of the trip: Shooting Star, Dodecatheon meadia. I made a trip to Lynx Prairie specifically with seeing this species in mind. You can see why it is called Shooting Star. Shooting Star has been recorded in 24 of the 88 Ohio counties with its population being mainly centered in the South and Southwest parts of the state. At Lynx, these were found in the pocket prairies; in fact, the first pocket prairie had hundreds of these flowering.

Next up was this flower that was found right next to the Shooting Stars. This is Scarlet Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja coccinea. Scarlet Indian Paintbrush has been recorded in 23 Ohio counties, and here in the prairies of Adams County you can encounter it in decent numbers. This is Ohio's only Indian Paintbrush species, with most of the species being out west.

This yellow flower and the surrounding clover-like leaves belong to Great Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis grandis. It is our largest native wood sorrel and is found in 47 Ohio counties, generally in the Southern and Eastern portions of the state. This specimen was found at Davis Memorial SNP.

Some times we expect flowers to be large, flashy plants; however, many wildflowers are not that flashy, nor are they always large. That does not mean most wildflowers don't have a subtle beauty. This flower, Houstonia caerulea, might be very tiny, but it does have its own subtle features. The slight blue tint, the tiny yellow center, the simple symmetry made by four petals; all of this is grand in its own sense, if you take the time to actually look at it. This was found at Davis Memorial SNP where they were all along the trail. It's known more commonly as Azure Bluet or Quaker Lady. Found in most Eastern and Southern Ohio counties, this flower thrives in moist, acidic soil in shady areas.

This flower is Downy Wood Mint, Blephilia ciliata. This was found at Lynx Prairie; in fact, they were in every prairie opening almost and added a nice purple to the sea of green. This species is found in about half of the counties in Ohio and doesn't fall into any specific region.

This is one of the more uncommon flowers I came across on this trip. This is Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima. Smooth Phlox has been recorded in only 7 counties in Ohio! The Ohio population is definitely centered in the south, with Adams County and the Shawnee Forest region making up most of the records. This particular specimen was found at Davis Memorial SNP.

All in all, this was a good trip for wildflowers. I found a few more but I don't want to overload this post and have it be incredibly long, so I'm going to stop it here. The next post will be coming soon as well and will be about some of the insects and arachnids I came across. Stay tuned!