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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Could it be?

Wildlife watchers (or at least this wildlife watcher) always hope to see rare species, and today I had the fleeting thought that I might actually be seeing an endangered butterfly, the Karner blue. This particular butterfly lays its eggs only on the wild lupine (Lupinis perennis), which generally lives in oak savannas, an ecosystem that has become rare. I am not sure that the meadow at the Wintergarden Preserve in Bowling Green, Ohio, is in fact an oak savanna, but it is home to nice swaths of lupine, which today were in full bloom.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Karner blues do not typically emerge until late May, but many plants (and perhaps caterpillars?) have been early this year. Certainly, there were quite a few little bluish-grayish butterflies flitting among the lupines.

A girl can hope.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A new love

A plant I had heard of but never seen materialized on an afternoon walk today. Wild hyacinth, or camassia scilloides, grows in abundance in a nearby wetland that I had managed never to visit during the right time of year. At first, I did not know what this gorgeous thing was

since, fully bloomed out, it does not have the classic hyacinth shape, and the only camassias I have ever seen at garden centers or in catalogs are the more brightly-colored western varieties. But the woods were full of the plant,

and I eventually recognized it (with the help of thoughtfully-provided signage on the edge of the trail and some plants still wearing the more recognizable hyacinth-like form).

Camassia is an important early nectar source for a number of native bees, and the bulbs were sometimes eaten by Native Americans and early European settlers. The Illinois Wildflower Society notes that the plant is an indicator of quality habitat, which is good news considering the sky view from this particular wetland.

I would much rather look at the flowers.

Warning: wild hyacinth has a short bloom season, so if you want to see it, head for your local wetland forest or moist prairie now.