The Wild Petunia June 24, 2007
It is funny how things work out. The love of plants led me to the local Audubon walks, which led me to the past-time of birding. And now, birding often leads me to great botany. That is a win-win situation for sure!
Today, I was in Hocking county hoping to see a Mississippi Kite. Not only was I fortunate enough to see said kite, I also had some bonus botany. This lovely little flower was blooming on the dusty roadside. The USDA website, which is a nice place to search out plant photos and data, calls it the "limestone wild petunia." Newcomb's and Peterson's guides both call it Smooth Ruellia. This is a classic example of Latin names being important to sorting out these plants. No matter what common name is goes by, all references know this as Ruellia strepens. It is found in over half of our counties in Ohio, more commonly in the western and southern counties. Blooming June- Aug. this member of the Acanthus family is a lovely addition to the limestone roadsides and rich woods alike. Said plant is supposed to be between 1-3 feet tall with nickel to quarter sized blooms, but later on today, I saw some hardly cresting 8 inches. These "miniatures' were found on little patch with prairie species, along with a very interesting butterfly. But that... is for a different blog.