Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Floral Wonders of Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve

Although not intentionally planned, I have visited two of Ohio's most interesting botanical regions the last two Fridays of botanizing. Last week, it was the Adams County area, full of dolomite prairies and other cool things, and yesterday, I was in the Oak Openings at Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve, recently opened to the public. The commonality between the two areas? Butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa, was in full bloom during both my visits. Here in the Oak Openings, it just wasn't covered with great spangled fritillaries.

Wow, isn't that a great view? The fountainous big bluestem intermixed with the orange of the butterfly weed would make a gardener jealous. I'm always impressed by nature's arrangement of the landscape- we can only attempt to replicate this arrangement with hard work and dedication, but in natural systems, it just happens all by itself, with a little help from us via prescribed burns.

Speaking of grass like plants, during this trip, I found what our friend Jim McCormac has termed a "mega-rarity". An endangered sedge species, that until Wednesday, was only known from the most extreme northwest county in Ohio. Tim Walters discovered it somewhere in the Oak Openings on Wednesday. Ryan Schroeder and I found it on Friday at Lou Campbell preserve, just two days later. I'll detail the find in a future post, look for it soon.

But now, some of the showy early summer flowering plants from Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve.

White colic root, Aletris farinosa

Flowering spurge, Euphorbia corollata

Lythrum alatum, winged loosestrife, our NATIVE loosestrife that is also purple.

Virginia mountain mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum

Kalm's St. John's wort, Hypericum kalmianum

Swamp rose, Rosa palustris

and finally, a Pucoon, a Lithospermum species.

Even though we're entering summer, Ohio still has very interesting wildflower species in bloom. We're "in-between" the typical heights of the season- spring wildflowers and summer prairies, but Lou Campbell Preserve has plenty to offer. If you're in the northwest Ohio area, be sure to visit and check out the trail that Ryan and his staff have built. Wet prairies, oak forest, lupine savanna- it's all there. Just remember to bring your mosquito gear- if you aren't careful, they'll carry you away.



  1. What a bonanza of beautiful wildflowers! Except for Butterfly Milkweed and Swamp Rose, I've never found most of these in northeastern NY. We have Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint (P. tenuifolium) with purple- polka-dotted white flowers, but I've not found P. virginianum. Do its flowers look the same?

    This flower nerd thanks you for giving us this feast for the eyes.

  2. Gorgeous flowers, Tom. Love the butterflyweed.

  3. Thanks Jackie-

    Well, I've never seen tenuifolium, but Virgina MM doesn't have dots on the petals, if I remember correctly.

    You are welcome.

    Thanks Janet- It really was doing quite well.

  4. I love the butterfly flower, but all of these are beautiful! What a nice mixture.