On the northern edge of Ashland County lies a National Natural Landmark named Crall Woods. Owned by the Ashland County Park District, the 283 acres that make up this tract are filled with year-round beauty. Spring marks the most spectacular wildflower displays known in our area, and the stream cascades over mini-falls near the park entrance.
Scouting through the park with well known blogger, Tom Arbour, from Ohio's Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, we had something very different on our mind: orchids! Tom had discovered one of Ohio's rare and most diminutive orchids on this plot two years ago.
Hard to believe that the ground around our feet was littered with the delicate beauties, however they are so small it nearly requires a head-stand to get at good look at them! At first blush, its growth habits reminds one of the ground-hugging saprophytes, but it more closely resembles a shrunken Arethusa orchid.
A sense of the minuscule proportions becomes evident next to the Blue Cohosh berries lying on the ground. These plants are listed as potentially threatened in Ohio, but some believe they may be more common than once believed. Given the eye-straining size of the species, combined with the short-lived bloom, usually withering in a day, they are difficult to locate. Add to the mix their sporadic blooming, and it becomes obvious why we were so excited by relocating these Lillipution sized orchids.