A Trip to Stillwater

Athena ScalziHey, everyone! I hope your weekend is going well so far. This Saturday is a rainy one, but before it started pouring, I went to Stillwater Prairie. It’s a reserve/park with lots of nice trails, a river, and a pond. I wanted to see if I could get some good pictures of flowers starting to bloom or other spring-y things.

Here’s a couple of the shots I took!

This cluster of little flowers was close to the parking lot. Does anyone know what they are?

Mushies! These little guys were on the end of a log by the bridge. (Don’t worry I didn’t eat them.)

More flowers! These were closer to the river than the other set of them.

And of course, the river. I would imagine it will be much higher after the rain stops. It started raining right when I left, so I kind of nailed the whole expedition timing wise!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed these photos, and I hope you have a good day, rainy or otherwise!


16 Comments on “A Trip to Stillwater”

  1. You probably could have eaten the mushrooms, they look like “chicken of the woods,” a common fungus that grows on rotting wood and is edible.

  2. Great pictures, Athena–many thanks.

    Most of the “shelf” or “bracket” fungi like those (officially, polypores–also called “conks”) aren’t much good to eat, but some have proven medicinal uses. Maybe there’s a local mycological society you could check with–most fungophiles tend to be interesting folks in general.

  3. Your flowers look like a variety of bittercress (there’s several that look very similar). They are an early spring blossom.

  4. I think that both sets of flowers are Cardamine. Neither of them is a species found in Britain, so I can’t recognize them directly, but after resort to Google, I think that the second is cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata). I’m less certain of the second (it’s hard to make out details of the foliage), but perhaps purple cress (Cardamine douglasii).

    The USDA tells me that there are 15 species of Cardamine to be found in Ohio, and there is the possibility that I’ve got the genus wrong; if you can get your hands on a wildflower field guide skim through the crucifer (Brassicaceae/Cruciferae) section.

  5. For the avoidance of confusion, bittercress is the vernacular name for several species of Cardamine, and may be applied to the whole genus.

  6. The fungi is absolutely not chicken-of-the-woods as another commenter suggested, it doesn’t even look close besides being the wrong time of year. There’s a variety of polypores it could be; without an underside photo it can’t be narrowed down much.

    I started hiking daily with my dog since Covid hit, and have learned a lot of plants and fungi. For help with plant ID, I highly recommend the free app iNaturalist. It agrees that your flowers are likely both in the Cardamine genus. I agree with Stewart that the first looks like purple cress and the second cut-leaf toothwort.

    iNaturalist is also helpful with insects and more, it’s pretty comprehensive. And observations you submit can be reviewed by others who may help with ID.

    Apps are usually crap at mushroom ID, including iNat, as there’s much more involved than you can tell from a single photo (often need underside, smells, spores, etc). I’ve learned the most from joining a local mushroom group on Facebook; location-based groups are great because they know what to expect in your area.

  7. What wonderful pictures. You are a multitalented artist. I particularly like the one of the river. It reminds me of one where as a kid I used to play when my parents took us on summer vacations to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

    By the way, I signed up for the Kencko smoothies you recommended and am enjoying them. Finally a good way to get fruits and fiber. My favorites so far are purple, crimson, red, and gold. For the golds and yellows, I use chocolate milk. I make them with a tablespoon of sugar (I know, my bad). You were right, too, about using a blender instead of just shaking it in the bottle they provide. The blender does wonders.

  8. Ditto on the iNaturalist recommendation, it’s really fun! The recognition algorithm that recommends IDs is pretty good but not infallible, but luckily there’s a huge community of experts and dedicated amateurs who double-check and confirm. I actually use it for some aspects of my research, as do several of my colleagues, so anything you upload may be helping advance science. :-)

  9. Hey Athena
    Your flowers look like cardamine pratensis – except that one is supposed to be found in the humid meadows of Europe and West Asia, not in America, as per wiki.
    They tend to cover meadows in spring – and we have a rule at home, that you can’t mow the grass before the cardamine have withered :-)

  10. On the one hand, Cardamine pratensis is native to Ohio. (Wikipedia doesn’t give the full distribution.) USDA and RBG Kew show the range including eastern Canada and the northeastern US. The USDA also has it in Alaska and Alberta, and RBG Kew as naturalized in British Columbia. On the other hand, it’s desperately rare and officially endangered in Ohio, and was rediscovered in 2020 (in Summit County) after an absence of several years. On the gripping hand, while I can’t point to any specific point, the first plant didn’t strike me as looking like Cardamine pratensis (too compact?). The foliage of the second plant is clearly not that of Cardamine pratensis.

  11. There are only two types of flowers- daffodils and non-daffodils. Those are non-daffodils.

  12. I stand corrected, indeed the leaf does not look like the ones of the pratensis, and seem much closer to the douglasii.

    (Guess I was too enthousiast when I saw that typical flower, knowing that the pratensis is the only purple one in these parts)

  13. I”m such an Oklahoma provincial – when I read your headline, I thought at first you might have meant Stillwater, Oklahoma, a medium-sized town best known as the home of OSU. (Um, that would be Oklahoma State University, as opposed to universities from any other states beginning with O.) But thanks for sharing your experience, those were some nice pictures!