From a distance, they look like delicate fallen dragon and damselflies littering a field of tall grasses. Upon closer inspection, the geometrically arranged leaves and the fringed beard, the Rose Pogonia Orchid emerges.
This flower usually has only 1 flower on an erect, slender stem. It is rose or pink-colored and, unlike most orchids, has a nice fragrance. The lower lip is densely bearded near the throat with white to yellow bristles. There is 1 leaf near the middle of the stem. This wild orchid is found in very wet areas where sun is prominent.
Other common names are: Rose Pogonia, Snake-mouth Orchid, Beard Flower.
Finding this native flower was a real treat, as non-native species move in and push out our native flowers, flowers like these are becoming rarer and rarer to find. As of 2016 the 'Snake-mouth Orchid' is on the USDA's threatened/endangered list as 'Threatened'.
Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)
Easy to miss, the whorled leaves at the base of this plant resemble the mayapples that grow nearby. With a green 'flower' it's easy to miss all around. But if you spot the unique flower hidden under the top three leaves, you won't soon forget it!
Some plants will have multiple flowers growing from the central whorl of three leaves on top of the wooly unbranched stem.
The root is white, brittle, and tastes and smells somewhat like a cucumber. It was once used by Native Americans for food, but due to its scarcity it is not recommended to dig this plant.
After the flowers bloom it fruits bluish-purple berries, which birds are attracted to; the cluster of leaves below turn red at the lower half.
Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis) is in the same family as Dutchman's Breeches and Bleeding Hearts. Where it grows with Dutchman's Breeches, it blooms often a few weeks later after the 'breeches' are finishing up.
These can be found in the eastern half of Ohio mainly in wooded areas, along wooded slopes in well drained soils.
The name 'Squirrel Corn' is derived from the appearance of the root structure that looks like corn kernels - those of us who live alongside squirrels know how they like to hide all their foods!
...May Flowers - Alsike Clover
We've all heard the rhyme "April showers bring May flowers", but just what blooms in May?
Follow along as we post about a new flower every day in May, some familiar, some may be new, all beautiful in their unique sort of way!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.