Friday, April 27, 2012


Anyone who owns a “Flora of …” field guide has surely noticed that the Genus Carex can easily chew-up 50 plus pages of dichotomous key without the help of pictures or line drawings. It is intimidating. Ohio is home to more than 160 different species of sedges easily making it the largest genera in the flora. One of the primary characteristics used to identify sedges to species are the perigynia, an inflated sac containing the achene (seed). Usually a 20X hand lens is needed to observe the characteristics of these structures as most of them are around 3-4mm long. I have only been interested in sedges for a few years, but from my first look through the hand lens I was struck by the beauty of sedges especially when magnified.
Here is a banner of 11 different perigynia all from sedges native to northeast Ohio – can you identify any of them?

Here is a close up look at the staminate (male) spike on top and a pistillate (female) spike below.  This is Carex plantaginea (plantain leaved sedge).  A little more about plantain leaved sedge right here 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Morel 2012

Yesterday I found my first morel of 2012.  It was a tiny grey morel that measured less than 2cm tall.  Here is a sketch of one of the last morels I saw in 2011 a great big yellow that measured nearly 20cm tall on May 5th.

Morels can be terribly hard to find.  I didn't find this nice yellow until after I got home and took a closer look at my snapshot of this handsome Jack-in-the-pulpit.  Can you find it?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean warbler (Setophaga cerulean) is a small warbler that often forages and nests high in the forest canopy especially on the edges of canopy gaps.  Some of our tallest trees in the eastern forests are tulip-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) – so here is a sketch of what you might see if you look up to the tree tops in a high quality forest this time of year.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Two sketches from last April – this is about the stage we are at right now – still running 2-3 weeks early.  However, the weather has cooled off quite a bit and a lot of the plants have slowed down or stopped in their tracks. 

The buds of the understory beech trees are swelling but not yet popped and the winter wrens are singing. 

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is in flower and the foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) is almost flowering.