Shades of Shawnee May 16, 2007
Shawnee State forest is filled with amazing flowers, from very common violets and geraniums to the very uncommon Trumpet honeysuckle. OOS had its first conference in Shawnee in 2005. During the field trips, some sharp birder (Dana) noted a coral-red tinge of color on a hillside. Closer inspection revealed it was the previously unknown to Ohio, Trumpet honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens.
It was believed to be seed-banked on the hillside, just awaiting the ice storm which opened up large areas of forest canopy. The damage the ice storm created was incredible, but nature takes it course and new plant communities spring up under new conditions. The new condition- more sunlight- brought forth the Lonicera shown in the photo above. I was lucky enough to travel to Shawnee when some Columbus Dispatch reporters featured it in a science story, giving Trumpet Honeysuckle its three minutes of fame.
A beautiful, tubular flower in the Caprifoliaceae family, it must be a humming bird's dream. These stunning coral-to-red flowers are a real show stopper. Normally seen in states south of Ohio, the species name means "evergreen" and the leaves do remain throughout the winter.