Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Power of Collective Naturalizing

Ok, I think I just made up a new phrase. What the heck do I mean by "the power of collective naturalizing"? One of the coolest things that I do as an ecologist is get together with other top notch ecologists and naturalists around the state, and we do what we love- we naturalize. Or botanize. Or bird. To most of us, we love it all. Just being in a natural area, interpreting the plants, the animals, the ecological systems, it is fantastic. And when you're with a bunch of people, it is amazing how many new things you can learn in just a few days in the field.

I was in the field three days this past week, in two parts of the state, and all three times with fantastic naturalists. Here are just some of the things we saw. Some of these things I know to species, other to genus, and others, I don't really have a clue. I want to know what you know. Know what something is? Comment, give the number, and tell us something about that plant or animal-maybe your experience with it, whether you see it often, or maybe it is rare in your area. Let's collective naturalize through the blog. This is an experiment and something new that I've never done here, but I think it could be quite fun.
























  1. Hello,
    Wonderful photographs! I'm not familiar with most of the plants there... but it is a pleasure to observe via your blog...

  2. I always called # 3 a violet and remember it and the last one, a dogwood, from my days growing up in Tallmadge. My girlfriends and I would gather up a whole bouquet for our mothers on mother's day each year. My mom even moved the violets as she moved to Akron and to Munroe Falls.Each year when I see them poke up their heads through the other foliage, I have fond memories of my childhood and my mom.
    Your mom!

  3. Thanks Mungo. It is always nice to here people enjoy my work.

    Ok, we've got #3 narrowed down to a type of violet, or a plant in the genus Viola. Anyone know the species?

    And for #22, we've got a dogwood, genus Cornus, anybody know the species of this one?

  4. Tom: Wow; what a great bunch of photos. Well done and I'm glad you ended up with the Dogwood a true sign of Spring.

  5. Wow- I am impressed with how many cool thigns you saw! I won't attempt identification- will just appreciate when you show me things in teh wild. :-)

  6. #2 looks like a Morrell mushroom. Best eaten, of course, after cooking in butter with onions and maybe a bit of garlic.

  7. It looks like you visited some neat sites! What a nice time of year to be out. Here are my guesses:

    #1 nodding trillium - Trillium cernuum, the only trillium with the flower beneath the leaves

    #2 I think James got this one - a morel. We went on a wonderful morel-hunting workshop at a park while in Minnesota, complete with cooking and eating them afterwards.

    #3 After hearing a wonderful talk on the many violet species in Ohio (I think it was at last year's botanical symposium), I'm not even going to take a guess at what kind of violet.

    #4 Spring beauty, Claytonia virginiana or virginica or something...

    #8 Trillium grandiflorum

    #9 Toadshade trillium, Trillium sessile

    #11 Yellow buckeye, Aesculus something - there are a couple species that differ based on flower color

    #20 skunk cabbage

    #22 Cornus florida - flowering dogwood. I love the trick to recognizing that a plant is a dogwood - you tear the leaf and slowly pull it apart, and the veins pull out and keep the two pieces attached. There's some official term for that that I don't know.

  8. By the way, I agree that collective botanizing is wonderful! I know some plants, but that's about it. It's great being out with a group of other people with complementary knowledge.

  9. Kathleen: You're close with #1, ....what you said may be true for Minnesota..but not Ohio...the mystery continues. Isn't this fun?


  10. Also, Kathleen, did you notice anything strange about that Trillium sessile?


  11. Aren't both #2 and # 4 morels? I know you soak them in saltwater first before cooking them to get rid of the bugs. They are very popular around here and people guard their morel colleting sites. We occasionally find one by our creek. I thought # 9 was a Trillium, but it has 4 of everything. Is #14 crawdad (crayfish)? #1 Drooping Trillium (Trillium flexipes). To me violets and dogwoods are just fancy species names.

  12. re:

    "#22 Cornus florida - flowering dogwood. I love the trick to recognizing that a plant is a dogwood - you tear the leaf and slowly pull it apart, and the veins pull out and keep the two pieces attached. There's some official term for that that I don't know."

    It's the latex, I believe, in the sap of a Dogwood that keeps them together. That's a trick I learned last summer - in identifying a Dogwood. Not sure if the sap can be used medicinally - that would be interesting to find out.



  13. Well, it's not scientific, but I'm sure you've heard that the Dogwood flowers look like a cross with a nailprint at the edge of each petal, tinged with "blood" and the center looks like a "crown of thorns"...they bloom around Easter usually, and are associated with it for these reasons. Just thought I'd toss that Dogwood trivia in!

  14. #1 Drooping Trillium - Trillium flexipes

    #7 Goldenseal

    #9 I'm going to call that a quadrillium, much better and luckier than a 4-leaf clover.

    #13 Milk Snake

    #15 Two-lined Salamander

    #17 Carex ?

  15. If you really want to know what I see- I see 2 snakes, a snail, a bug, a dead crawfish, some mushrooms, some violets that grow in the front yard, a trillium...

  16. I think that Megan nailed it perfectly :-)

  17. #5 may be a half-free morel, or it may be a poisonous look-alike. Based on extensive internet research for the last 5 minutes, my sources indicate that the yellow morel, #2, tastes better either way, so I would throw out #5 and eat #2.

  18. On further research, I need to know if the cap is half free or completely free of the stem. I can't deal with this shoddy photography.

  19. James....I'm digging your interest here. We did look up the skirt of this little mushroom and it didn't resemble the cross section in the photo you provided with the link. I would say that it was only half free. I checked out the half morel, and I think the picture that I took looked more like that the half morel as well. One of the common names that the preserve manager used for this mushroom was "Spike". Don't know if that helps at all.

    And lets keep this going.

    RYAN- Very, very, very nice work. Props to the milk snake and the carex ID! Take a look at the salamander again. This guy (or girl actually) is from a wet, seepy, skunk cabbage area and it back legs were much larger than its front legs!

  20. What a great selection of photos, including quite a few that I have no idea what they are. I'll just comment on the first two 'cause they've got the most interesting personal story to them.

    #1 appears to be a mayapple, though it's not usually the angle I see them at. I have a soft spot for mayapples, though I'm not especially sure why... perhaps just because they're one of the first wildflowers I learned as a kid, so they've always been familiar to me. I remember in kindergarten (how long ago that was now!) my mom helped me make a "field guide" to the wildflowers of our backyard woods, a dozen species or so, including the mayapple.

    #2 seems to be a morel mushroom. We have them growing wild at the man-made Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto (where I volunteer). I understand them to be a delicacy, but I'm afraid I haven't developed much of a taste for fungi...

  21. Okay, after reading some of the comments, perhaps #1 isn't a mayapple at all, and that's why it looked funny! Perhaps I should've done that to begin with... :) Mayapples have been on my mind lately 'cause they're just starting to bloom at my parents' place.

  22. Isn't #6 a Blister Beetle?

  23. I do sometimes get into trouble using ID rules I learned in Minnesota for the Ohio species. There are just a lot fewer species to choose from in Minnesota hardwood forests!

    By the way, awesome pictures!

    We're headed to the Hocking Hills for a 4-day vacation - I'm looking forward to enjoying the spring wildflowers, birds, waterfalls, and wildlife.

  24. I really enjoyed this species ID quiz - definitely do more of them in the future!

  25. #6 looks like a queen ant.

    No fair asking for names of violets unless the leaves are also shown! LOL

  26. Yes, #6 is a type of blister beetle known as "oil beetle" (genus Meloe). There are ~20 spp. in the U.S., and the larvae live parasitically in bees nests.

  27. Is 21 Golden Saxifrage? I spent several minutes on my knees on a rock next to a creek trying to get a decent shot of it myself... But it's so tiny, and the least little breath of wind wiggles it and... whine whine whine...

  28. 1. Trillium sp.
    2. Morel?
    3. Viola purpurea?
    4. Claytonia sp.
    8. Trillium ovatum
    9. Trillium chloropetalum - The 4 petals/sepals/leaves are weird for a trillium, though, but these things do happen. Love the quadrillium comment :)
    12. Horse?
    20. Skunk Cabbage
    21. Saxifrage of some sort sounds right

  29. Jennifer!


    You get the prize for golden saxifrage, Chrysosplenium americanum!


    Ok....must make dinner now, will take a look through more comments later this evening!

  30. I find all the pictures worth a look, but as for naming them.. ha! no way.. great post Tom, and I enjoyed reading the comment also.

  31. OK! Well, that was certainly fun, wasn't it? I think I I'll create a new post, this time, putting pictures on everything!