Posted in Park visit

Cedar Bog in Late Spring

Cedar Bog is a State Nature Preserve located in Champaign County. We visited the preserve twice during the past several weeks to look at the spring wildflowers. Like many people our favorite bloom from this past weekend was the Showy Lady’s Slipper.

Bee emerging from Showy Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium reginae)

Other Early June Sights

I was excited to catch sight of two species of carnivorous plants while visiting Cedar Bog. They are tiny plants, and they are often hidden by the grassy-looking sedges. The first is Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). A sweet tasting, sticky liquid oozes from its leaves, looking like little drops of dew. The sweet liquid attracts insects insects which get stuck on its leaves. The liquid on the leaves also contains an enzyme which allows the plants to “digest” the insect by extracting various nutrients from its body.

Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)
A bug being digested by one of the leaves of Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia).

The other carnivorous plant that I spotted is the Bladderwort (Utricularia). It was blooming at the time.

Bladderwort (Utricularia)

This bladderwort performs its carnivorous acts underwater using its bladders. Each bladder has a trapdoor. The trapdoor is triggered when water organisms brush up against tiny, hair-like growths. Once triggered, the bladders sucks in the organism, along with water. The trapdoor slams shut afterwards and the plants extracts nutrients while digesting its prey in its bladders. If you look closely at the photo below, you can make out some open trapdoor at the end of the bladders. The “engineering” of these little trapdoors makes them among the most sophisticated structures in the plant kingdom.

This is an underwater view of Utricularia, showing the “bladders”. It was photogrpahed by H. Zell who published it under a Creative Commons license.

At this time of year, I’m seeing spittlebug nymphs on all sorts of vegetation along the side of the trail. The ones below were clinging to leaves along the boardwalk, I decided to take a closer look.

The aptly named spittlebug nymph clinging to prairie dock leaves

For the most part you don’t get to see the immature insect which is called a “nymph.” Instead you see what looks like bubbly spit. In the photo above you can just make out the tip of the abdomen of the one on the right. I decided to get a better look by gently brushing away the spit with a blade of grass. After taking the photo below, I delicately “painted” the spit back over him.

Spittlebug nymph

In a previous post I describe the nymph’s amazing spit in more detail.

We almost always see at least one Five-lined skink when we visit Cedar Bog, and this past weekend was no exception. The one below is a juvenile. You can tell because his tail is quite blue. As the lizard matures the blue color will go away.

Five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

Sights from mid-May

One of the most interesting sightings from our May visit was seeing the poor flower below getting strangled by one of its neighbors.

The plant on the right is using a tendril to strangle a neighboring flower (white baneberry).

I don’t know the species of the plant with the tendrils, but I would have loved to have seen a time-lapsed movie showing the tentdil reaching out and eventually finding the white baneberry flower. It’s such a distance away that I find myself wondering whether the tendril was whipping all over the place before landing on the flower.

Here are a few more mid-May flowers photographed at Cedar Bog.

Watercress growing in the creek; this is a non-native, invasive plant.
Looking down on an iris.
Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
The Boardwalk

We have previously discussed the Cedar Bog Preserve, including where it is located. You can read this post here. However, I wanted to close with a few photos of the boardwalk. It’s such a pleasant walk.

Boardwalk near the entrance.
The boardwalk forks at this point. We saw Showy Lady Slippers before this point, and we saw additional ones by going right at the fork.
Boardwalk through an opening

Additional information
  • TrekOhio: Cedar Bog — Our review of this park.
  • TrekOhio: Champaign County Parks & Nature Preserves — This is the county where Cedar Bog is located; check out this page for official links for this preserve, plus information on nearby parks and preserves.
  • TrekOhio: Spittlebug
  • Wikipedia: Drosera rotundifolia — This is the carnivorous plant, Round-leaved sundew.
  • Wikipedia: Utricularia — This is the carnivorous plant, Bladderwort.
  • Wikipedia: Plestiodon fasciatus — Five-lined skink (the lizard)
  • Wikipedia: Cypripedium reginae — This is an article about Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids. Among other things I learned that Charles Darwin tried without success to created a cultivar of the plant for gardeners.

More on Champaign County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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