Cedar Bog, Fen and Tallgrass Prairie


For our third field trip, we went to Cedar Bog Nature preserve. It was a unique and beautiful place to make some observations while bitten by mosquitoes. We also learned a great deal about the prairie near the Cedar Bog education center.

Cedar Bog nature preserve is left behind by the retreating glaciers in the Teays River. Water left behind feeds the plants that are unique to Cedar Bog. Many of these plants are rare or endangered. After the glacier retreated, the original fen communities included arbor vitae and tamarack. These gave away to marsh and swamp forest as the climate warmed up. “Remnants of the alkaline bog communities survived only on the sites fed by cold, highly alkaline springs in climatic conditions that approximated those shortly after glaciation. Trees found here like bog birch and northern white cedar are more commonly found in the more northern boreal forest.” * In 1942, it is purchased by state of Ohio and recognized and protected for its diversity of plants.

When we went to Prairies, I saw many treeless expanses of grassland. Species like Indian grass, switch grass, and big bluestem are the most synonymous with Ohio’s tall grass prairies. They are rare in Ohio because of agricultural human activities but can be found in some areas such as pioneer cemeteries and moderately grazed areas. Historic Sandusky Plains of Crawford County and Bigelow Cemetery Prairie state nature preserve are some of the good examples to observe some Prairie grasses.

For our scavenger hunt, Kali assigned me to find and identify two different carnivore plants. I felt very lucky because I thought they were the most interesting species that we observed during our trip.


1-) Round-leaved Sundew

Family= Droseraceae
Genus= Drosera
Species= Drosera rotundifolia

Sundews are insectivorous plants that thrives in bogs and wet stands. They use specific enzymes to dissolve the captured insects. They have evolved their carnivorous behaviour in response to their habitat, “which is usually poor in nutrients or is so acidic that nutrient availability is severely decreased.”* Basal leaves are entire and their white colored flowers are in one-sided racemes.

Here you can see Sundews leaves covered with red hairs. This glandular hairs on the leaves exude dewlike drops of a sticky fluid that entraps insects.


There at least 194 species of  Drosera, and they can be found from Alaska all the way to New Zealand! *


Here it is easier to understand how small and round-leaved this species is.


2-) Flat-leaved Bladderwort

Family= Lentibulariaceae
Genus= Utricularia
Species= Utricularia intermedia

Bladderworts are aquatic plants that are found in wetlands. They have finely divided underwater leaves that bear tiny bladders that entrap minute water life. Their 2-lipped flowers grow singly or in small cluster at the top of the stalk. Their name Utricularia is derived from the Latin word utriculus which means bagpipe.*


Utricularia intermedia has yellow colored flowers


They occur throughout northern and western North America. “Despite their small size, the traps are extremely sophisticated. In the active traps of the aquatic species, prey brush against trigger hairs connected to the trapdoor. The bladder is under negative pressure in relation to its environment so that when the trapdoor is mechanically triggered, the prey, along with the water surrounding it, is sucked into the bladder.” 

Here you can see that the plant creeping on the bottom of the water, distinctive trait for Flat-leaved bladderworts.




Source of information: 

Lawrence Newcomb's Wildflower Guide








Deep Woods, the Appalachian Gametophyte, and Ohio Geobotany


Hi Everyone! In our field trip to Deep Woods, I volunteered to study more about flowers. It is so fun to be able to identify pretty flowers and get familiar with them. This time Kali wanted me to explain their specialized pollinations and pollinators.

1-) Aquilegia Canadensis

(also known as red columbine, wild columbine)

Here I am observing the first flower of the day, Aquilegia Canadensis.  You can see its scarlet flower with protruding stamens. Leaflets are in 3’s and are deepley lobed. Each petal has a long narrow spur at the back.


Family= Ranunculaceae
Genus= Aquilegia
Species= Aquilegia Canadensis

“This beautiful woodland native has intricate red and yellow bell-like flowers with unique, backward-pointed nectar tubes. The nectaries are the perfect shape for hummingbirds and long-tongued insects such as butterflies and hawk moths that are especially adapted for reaching the nectar inside.”

Interesting Fact: The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin word “aquila” which means eagle and refers to the nectar spurs that resemble eagles talons. *



2-) Jack in the Pulpit

Here Kali is showing me one Jack-in-the-culpit! Green and brownish purple canopy (spathe) is over a club-shaped spadix and is called “Jack”. Leaflets=3. It prefers moist areas of woods.


Family= Araceae
Genus= Arisaema
Species= Arisaema triphyllum

Males plants are usually smaller than female plants. Male plants have a small hole at the bottom of the spathe which allows pollinators to escape more easily. Female plants lack the hole and pollinators such as fungus gnats are more likely to become trapped. This leads to more successful pollination. **
Interesting Fact: Trapped gnats die inside the spathe.


3-) Pink Lady’s Slipper

Pink lady’s slippers are in monocot group. Here you can see that they have 2 leaves, broad and large. Their pouch-shaped flower is solitary and their color changes dark pink to white. This one found under an Oak tree which they usually prefer to live.


Family= Orchidaceae

Genus= Cypripedium

Species= Cypripedium acaule

They require bees for pollination. “Bees are lured into the flower pouch through the front slit, attracted by the flower’s bright pinkish color and sweet scent. Once inside, the bees find no reward, and discover that they are trapped, with only one point of escape. Inside the pouch, there are hairs that lead to a pair of exit openings, one beneath each pollen mass. The bee must pass under the stigma, so if it bears any pollen from a visit to another flower, it will be deposited before picking up a fresh load on the way out.” ***

Interesting Fact= This species is the only Lady’s Slipper without stem leaves.

Source of information:

* https://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-plants/columbine-aquilegia-canadensis#.WwDbL9MvwWo



Lawrence Newcomb's Wildflower Guide

4 examples of plants that I observed on our field trips that are consistent with the patterns that Forsyth explains with respect to acid sandstone places like the Deep Woods compared with Battelle Darby Metro Park:

@Deep woods (acidic, well-drained soil)

1-) Pink ladies’ slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
2-) Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia) 

@Battle Darby Metro Park (limey, poor-drainage)

3-) Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
4-) Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Environmental conditions at Deep Woods where we saw the Appalachian Gametophyte:

On cave walls, where it is dark and humid.




Darby Creek Metro Park

Hi everyone! Kali assigned me to find and identify two different purple flowers at our Field Trip to Darby Creek Metro Park.

Did you know?

The color purple originally came from a dye made from mucus glands of a tropical sea snail that is known as the murex (porphyra in Greek, purpura in Latin) which gave us the word purple! Source: Telegraph.co.uk

1-) Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana L.)

Family= Commelinaceae

Genus= Tredescantia

ID features: 3 regular parts. alternate, entire green, long, and narrow leaves. sepals and flower stalks are hairy.  broad petals.

Interesting Fact: In contact, it may cause allergic reactions in pets (especially cats and dogs.)

Purple rain..drops on Spiderworts !


2-) Phloxes (Phlox divaricata)

Family= Polemoniaceae

Genus= Phlox

ID Features: 5 regular parts. entire, opposite leaves. flowers terminal, flat-topped. the lobes very narrow at the base and united to form a slender tube.

Interesting Fact: Phloxes are popular food sources for rabbits, deer, and groundhogs.

Purple Phloxes next to purple Spiderworts



Bonus: Geraniums (Geranium argenteum L.)

Family= Geraniaceae

Genus= Geranium

ID Features: 5 regular parts.  Purple flowers with opposite leaves that deeply and palmately lobed. Flowers in small clusters.

Interesting fact: To avoid self-pollination, these flowers first open their stamens to release pollen (male phase), then drop their stamens and open their stigma to receive pollen to fertilize their seeds (female phase)

Here Dr. Klips showing two different phases of geraniums. Left is male, right is female.


Source of Information: Lawrence Newcomb's Wildflower Guide