Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Highlights from Flora-Quest

Flora-Quest 2011. The 5th Flora-Quest to be held in Scioto and Adams County, the botanical "sweet-spot" of Ohio. More flora, more birds, more butterflies... there is a reason so many of us keep going back.

Pink Lady's-Slipper, Cypripedium acule

In the very beginning, we knew the lady's-slippers would be the stars of the show. Our very first feature on the Flora-Quest advertising cards (do you still have all five cards?) is still the big draw. People love this incredible flower.

Large-flowered Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum

This was the big bonus flower, as we have never had so many Trilliums in bloom during Flora-Quest. Usually these ephemeral are spent, but this year's cool, wet weather kept them in good form. The flora of Shawnee has never looked better than in 2011. We never dreamed we could see Trilliums and Lady's-slippers blooming side by side.

Falcate Orangetip photo by Greg Miller

Our poster child for southern butterflies, a species never seen in our northern counties, was still on the wing. Usually they are well past by the first week of May, but here was a male still flying about!

Nesting Blue-headed Vireo

Chris Bedel, the leader of Bike Quest found this unusual nester in the forest. Having toured Shawnee many times, I am now a total convert to seeing it by bike! You can hear the birds and get better views of the passing flora. What a spectacular way to spend an afternoon; Chris is a veritable fountain of wisdom on forest ecology.

Fire Pinks, Silene virginica

Brilliant displays from the roadside, these flowers love to cling to the steep, sunny embankments along the forest roads.

Spicebush Swallowtail

Pedaling through the horse camp we saw tons of butterflies. This Spicebush swallowtail was having lunch at one of our non-native, yet important butterfly nectar flowers: Taraxacum officinale. Doesn't that sound nicer than Common Dandelion?


Thanks again to all the participates, leaders and those amazing volunteers who help keep the event going! Special kudos to Paula Harper, Greg and Leslie Cornett, Kathy Knoop, Shelly Goodman, Colleen Kammer and Joyce Riepenhoff- and of course the guides. We couldn't do it without you!


  1. The butterfly on the dandelion would make a super post all by itself. Great job.

  2. Thanks Cheryl, it was a great Quest! When did you have time to photograph all these beauties?