Lynx Prairie. Blue Jay Barrens is a little different though; before Steve bought it in 1985, it was actually farmland. Decades of farming and bad land use practices had eroded essentially all of the topsoil, leaving the land desolate. Slowly but surely, native plants began to come back and soil is slowly being replaced. Adams County, luckily, has many native plant species that can thrive on thin, rocky, and dry soils, most of which are prairie species. Seeds of these hardy species naturally made their way from neighboring areas and began to recolonize the area. Fast forward to the present and you have a beautiful prairie environment with Red Cedars (which are managed by Steve) that dot the landscape.
|A closeup of the flowers on the Spring Ladies'-Tresses, with a beetle guest.|
The Buckeye Botanist, helped me on the variety part. He said "The best way to differentiate the two [varieties] is by the presence of basal leaves at anthesis. Variety gracilis' basal leaves are gone while var. lacera's are still there during flowering. Additionally, var. gracilis is a single rank of flowers in a tight spiral around the stem; var. lacera's flowers are more or less secund and all to one side of the stem and hardly spiraled." He also pointed out that var. lacera hasn't been found in Ohio so far, although he believes it is probably somewhere in extreme northern Ohio.
My trip to Blue Jay Barrens was jam-packed with exciting species, and hopefully I'll have some more time to make at least another post on it. These three orchids, which were all lifers for me, bring me up to 14 orchid species for my life list out of the 47 species in Ohio.