Prairies and love... July 07, 2007
It is no secret that I am a prairie enthusiast. Many people must see a huge field of grasses and forbs- and they just don't get it. And perhaps they won't get it until they wade in. Each prairie seems to have its own personality, each seems to be unique each in its own way. Some I like better than others... but I have never met a prairie I didn't like. Some are wet, like Daghmer and some are dry, like Adams Lake Prairie and Campbell Prairie at Oak Openings. A couple of my favorite prairies were planted by very prairie-wise guys : Don Beam (DBA: Stucker Meadow) and Guy Denny. Be sure to check out the upcoming happenings at the Ohio Prairie Conference in Hiram, Ohio this year.
You might ask, "What is so great about prairies?" A single word answer would be: diversity. Prairie plants vary from the smallest of sedges to the giant-sized Silphiums. There are grasses, flowers and all manner of interesting foliage. But wait, it doesn't stop there- for a mere $99.99 you can get all this and more! Dragonflies, birds, and butterflies galore. Have I sold you on prairies yet?
Many species are considered prairie specialists, like this Aphrodite Fritillary, Speyeria aphrodite pictured above. They display a much stronger bond to prairie habitats than their cousins the Great Spangled Fritillary. They tend to occur in much smaller and localized populations in Ohio, and are the perfect find to compliment a prairie visit. Look for a "Frit" with larger and more pronounced silver spots on the ventral (underside) wing. In Greek literature Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love, she is a perfect namesake for this lovely butterfly of the prairie.