Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Wildflowers

It is Spring wildflower time again. Over the past few weeks, I've been taking photos of every species I come across in order to put together a large post covering some of the wildflower species you might come across in the Spring, especially in Appalachian Ohio. So let's get right into it.

Large-White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum
This is Large-White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum. Large-White Trillium is actually the state wildflower of Ohio. This individual belonged to a small population along a creek at The Ridges in Athens County. A wildflower of the eastern United States, Large-White Trillium can be found in upland forests. Apparently, these are also a favorite food of White-Tailed Deer, and biologists can actually gauge deer population based on Large-White Trillium abundance and height, as the deer prefer the taller flowers.

Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Next is a very, very common wildflower: Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica. Over the past few weeks, I've seen Spring Beauties everywhere in the forests of the Athens County region. This specific individual was found at The Ridges in Athens County. This species is found throughout the eastern portion of the US, and has been found in basically every county in Ohio. When you do find it, there's a good chance it's not just one lone plant; this species is many times encountered in large mats covering the ground.

Cut-Leaved Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata
Next we have another pretty common wildflower, Cut-Leaved Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata. Cut-Leaved Toothwort has been recorded in every single county in Ohio, so you have a good chance of seeing it if you venture outside and look around. However, this species only blooms for about a month before going dormant again, so hopefully you're in the right place at the right time.

Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
Next we have a flower that has one of my favorite plant names, Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria. The curious name comes from the shape of the flower, which looks like white breeches. This plant contains toxic substances that have an interesting effect on cows if they choose to accidentally graze on it. Upon ingesting the plant, the cow will begin to stagger along like it is drunk (among other more severe symptoms). While it rarely kills cows, this is definitely a plant they do not want to eat. Dutchman's Breeches can be found throughout all of Ohio in deciduous forests.

Squirrel Corn, Dicentra canadensis
This is Squirrel Corn, Dicentra canadensis. At first glance, it appears similar to Dutchman's Breeches, but upon further inspection one can see the differences. For example, notice the heart shape at the top half of the flower. This species is found in more of the southern and eastern portions of the state in deciduous forests. The individual in this photo was found at The Ridges in Athens County.

Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides
Next we have Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides. A common wildflower in Ohio, this species has been recorded in all but 4 counties scattered around the state. I'm sure it can be found in all counties here, but that requires people having to go out to find a population and then sending that observation in to be recorded. This species can be found in deciduous forests and old fields. This particular population was found at REMA in Vinton County.

Creeping Phlox, Phlox subulata
These were also found at REMA in Vinton County. This is Creeping Phlox, Phlox subulata. It is also known as Moss Phlox, Moss Pink, and Mountain Phlox. Creeping Phlox is a common wildflower in the eastern portions of North America, but is mostly found only in the eastern portion of Ohio. This is one of the many phlox species found in Ohio.

Dwarf Cinquefoil, Potentilla canadensis
Next we have Dwarf Cinquefoil, Potentilla canadensis. This species is found in the eastern half of Ohio and can be found in fields, roadsides, and forests in that region. The name "cinquefoil" comes from a combination of the Old French and Middle English words for five and leaf to describe how many leaves the flowers in this genus normally have, like in the photo above.

Houstonia caerulea
Finally, we have one of my favorite wildflowers, Azure Bluets (also known as Quaker Ladies), Houstonia caerulea. These are very tiny flowers (about 1 centimeter wide) which many times grow in little clusters like this. This species can be found in the eastern and southern portions of Ohio in forests and among grasses. To help ID, take notice of the four petals which have a yellow center.

This long post is now at an end. Finals are this week and I'll be heading back to Circleville in Pickaway County this Friday. With school over for the moment, I should be able to get more posts hopefully, so keep an eye out! Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the pictures. I hope you can add more later. My husband and I are trying to learn to identify the flowers that we see during our walks in the park.