Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring Wildflowers in the Hocking Hills

Megan and I went to the Hocking Hills this past sunday. The hills kicked my butt. I did not realize how out of shape I have become. Anyways, the spring flora was out in force on Sunday, and I thought posting pictures of this 70+ degree day might brighten our spirits. As I right this, I am looking out the back window watching the snow come down. What a strange spring we have had.

First up is the leaf of one of Ohio's native orchids. This leaf is distinctive throughout the year. See something like this and you know you have rattlesnake plantain, most likely Goodyera pubescens. I have often wondered if the name of this genus was named after the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., since the patterning on the leaf resembles that of a tire. In fact, in Gray's Manual of Botany, M.L. Fernald says that it is named after an English botanist named John Goodyer

Next up is the flower of trailing arbutus. This small, prostrate member of the heath family blooms in early spring and is quite stunning.

Megan and I stumbled on this plant, literally, on our way to the restroom at Clear Creek Metropark. I didn't know it in the field, but I captured a few photos, and figured it would be fairly easy to find another picture on the internet. Sure enough, I did, and this plant turned out to be Obolaria virginica, Virginia pennywort or Pennywort gentian. The whole plant is just about three inches tall.

Finally, we have Corydalis flavula. This small member of the fumitory family caught my eye last April when Megan and I were hiking at Clear Creek. I wanted to return this year to get some shots of this seldom seen plant. It seems to like disturbed woods, and it was growing alongside an old road on the top of a dry ridge under Virginia pine.
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