Kicking up clouds of spores

During a recent hike to Trimmer Arch, I was startled when my peripheral vision caught sight of "smoke" rising up around my ankles. When I stopped and looked down, I realized that it wasn't smoke, but instead clouds of spores. These ripe spores were being released by ground cedar. The spores produced by it and other members of its family have an exceptionally high fat content. People have utilized these spores industrially over the years, and in this capacity they are referred to collectively Read more ➜

Basic Fern Identification

For some time I had been wanting to learn more about ferns, so I took advantage of a workshop on fern identification being held at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County, Ohio. Wahkeena is a great place to learn about ferns since 29 species of fern grow there (Wahkeena's official blog publishes a list of their local fern species). Naturalist Tom Shisler led the workshop which is called Focus on Ferns. In this post I'm going to introduce you to a number of common ferns found in Ohio by Read more ➜

Ground Cedar and Its Combustible Spores

The above plant has a number of names. I'm going to go with Ground Cedar, but it belongs to a family of plants (a genus) that's also called Groundcedar, Crowsfoot, and Clubmoss. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think its specific species is Diphasiastrum digitatum. It is a vascular plant which means that it has veins within its stem and leaves for transporting fluids, minerals and food. Before I became acquainted with it, I had thought that ferns were the only vascular plants that reproduced Read more ➜