Our recent sightings in Shawnee State Park and Forest confirmed once again its moniker “Ohio Little Smokies.” Nowhere else in Ohio will you find this amazing diversity of flora and fauna that is associated with environs much further south.
Gentiana villosa, Sampson’s Snakeroot or Striped Gentian, is just one of the many endangered and unusual Shawnee species seen far more commonly in The Great Smoky Mountains. Several of our Flora-quest planning team had the excellent fortune to see and photograph this mega-rarity white gentian growing along the forest road, thanks to Dave Riepenhoff’s mad skills. Sampson’s snakeroot is one of the latest fall flowering Shawnee specialties, but there are even more rarities to be seen in the spring.
Many of our state’s best botanists are looking forward to our weekend in southern Ohio’s foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and May 1-3 is the official date for Flora-Quest ’09. Mark your calendar now and plan to get more value from an educational vacation this year. You can retaliate against the instability of gas prices and the economy by taking a flora filled “stay-cation” in 2009. Flora-Quest was the brain-child of Jim McCormac, and we continue with the principle that tourism is the best way to create interest in the preservation of Ohio’ natural history, while at the same time we help people see and learn first hand about the incredible flora and fauna in Shawnee.