Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring Wildflowers, Pt. 2

More wildflowers have been coming up in the past weeks as the early Spring wildflowers fade out, so I've got a few more flowers to show. You can find the first part posted here. I'll start off with three common violet species.

Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia
First up with the violets is Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia. This is a common violet species and can be found throughout the eastern portions of the United States. In Ohio, this species has been officially recorded in every single county except for Madison. Interestingly, violets are not visited by insects often. So how do they get pollinated in order to reproduce? Well, violets exhibit something called Cleistogamy. Cleistogramy is where flowers actually self-pollinate, instead of relying on insects or other animals to pollinate their flowers. This species was also used historically as a food source (the flowers and leaves are edible), and was also used by some Native American tribes to treat various medical issues.

Viola striata
Next up is Viola striata. This species goes by a few common names including Striped White Violet, Striped Cream Violet, and Creamy Violet. I will be using Striped Cream Violet as that is what the US Department of Agriculture lists it as. This species is also found in the eastern US, but is a bit more restricted in range than V. sororia. In Ohio, Striped Cream Violet has been recorded in all but three counties, so it's a wide-ranging wildflower. The Latin name "striata" means striped, which describes the blue veins on the flowers as visible in the photo above.

Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens
Last up of the violets is Downy Yellow Violet, Viola pubescens. It has a range similar to Common Blue Violet and has been recorded in all but four Ohio counties. The flowers of this violet are smaller than the previous two violets, which aren't overly big to begin with. These three violet species aren't the only species present in Ohio, but are the most common violet species you'll run into here.

False Solomon's Seal, Maianthemum racemosum
Sorry for the bad quality; I only had my cellphone with me.
Moving on from the violets, next up is False Solomon's Seal, Maianthemum racemosum. This really wide-ranging plant has been recorded essentially everywhere in the US and Canada, and is probably in every single county in Ohio. These have just started flowering en masse in my current neck of the woods (Central Ohio), so keep an eye out for them.

Large White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum
And finally, I have more photos of a flower I went over in the first part of Spring Wildflowers. I came across a large patch of Large White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, at AW Marion State Park last week. The photo above is just a small portion of the patch, which also contained some species of phlox as you can see in the background.

Large White Trillium
As mentioned before, Large White Trillium (also known as Great White Trillium and simply White Trillium) is the state wildflower of Ohio. You can easily ID it by its three large, white petals. This species is found mainly throughout eastern Ohio; records are missing from a dozen or so western counties.

As summer nears, a whole other set of wildflowers will be getting ready to bloom, so keep on the lookout for new species on your hikes!

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