Category Archives: state parks

Waterfalls and Wildflowers

crooked falls 3 2017virgin bells 1 2017

Madison Indiana is known far and wide as a Architectural gem with all of the Historic homes and one of the most unique Main Streets in the Midwest. Visitors come from all over to enjoy the many festivals that our community has to offer as well. Even though Madison has these attractions the one that we have never seemed to take advantage of is the incredible natural beauty that we have to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Big Oaks NWR, Splinter Ridge FWA and The Chelsea Flattwoods are just a few of the many places to enjoy the natural beauty of Southern Indiana. We also have one of the most incredible wildflower blooms in the Midwest not only at Clifty and the other public areas but drive any rural road during the spring and summer months and you will be able to view great displays of flowers that dot the countryside.

Our county also boasts more than 30 waterfalls like the one pictured above that when conditions are right flow thru and over the many gorges that line the Ohio River Valley.

For right now there are just too many places and facts to share with you about this great area we call home but sufficed to say Madison isn’t just about man made structures but maybe more importantly about what nature has to offer.

Clifty Falls Wildflowers| Wood Poppy

Once again I have fallen behind in posting to this site or my other Portrait  site for that matter as well.  I took a wildflower photography vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then took a family vacation down there as well.  Also five straight weekends of weddings in May didn’t help matters as well, so maybe now I can post some of the great images I was able to capture the last couple months !!

But first here is another wildflower image I was able to capture at Clifty Falls State Park here in Madison Indiana. This wonderful specimen is a Wood Poppy and according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia…

Stylophorum diphyllum (celandine-poppy, wood poppy, poppywort) is a herbaceous perennial native to moist woodland in eastern North America, valued for its yellow flowers. The common name is derived from greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), a closely related European plant with similarly shaped leaves and similarly coloured and shaped flowers.

Plants grow about 1.5 feet tall from rhizomes. Leaves are pinnately cut and lobed. They grow from the base and off the flowering stems. Apart from its normal sap, Stylophorum diphyllum produces a yellow-orange latex that stains.

In spring, the deep yellow flowers of the Wood Poppy appear as a brilliant display on the forest floor. It comes as no surprise that the other common names of this plant are “Yellow Poppy” and “Celandine Poppy”. Members of the Poppy Family are characterized by their production of latex, which in the case of the Wood Poppy is yellow. The flowers have 4 yellow petals, two soon falling sepals, many yellow-orange stamens, and a single knobby stigma. They appear in umbels of one or more flowers from early spring to early summer.

After fertilization, a bristly blue-green pod hangs below the leaves. Seeds with white elaiosomes ripen in midsummer and the pod opens by four flaps.

Plants are relatively long lived and readily self-seed under garden conditions, where they are grown under full to part shade.

The Wood Poppy is a beautiful wildflower but they are extremely hard to photograph at times, the bloom is so big it tends to make the plant droop over making it hard to focus on the inside of the bloom. I captured this one right as it bloomed from the bud and hadn’t gotten a chance to fall over.

So here is the image and I hope you like it and I also hope you take the opportunity to get out and photograph or just observe the many different variates of wildflowers that grow here in Southern Indiana ad in your neck of the woods as well !!

 

 

wood poppy 1 clifty falls state park madison indiana 2014

Trout Lily | Clifty Falls State Park

Here are a couple shots of another example of one of the many beautiful wildflowers that line the canyons and gorges of Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. This great little flower is the Trout Lily named for the patterns on the leafs of the plant that resemble the patterns on a trout and is not the easiest wildflower to photograph because of the nodding nature of the bloom.

Since I am not a expert on the science of flowers I will leave the description this time to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center…

A pair of brownish-mottled leaves sheath the base of a stalk that bears a solitary, nodding flower, yellow inside, bronzy outside. This colony-forming perennial sends up two, 3-6 in., elliptic, maroon-mottled leaves and a slightly taller stalk bearing a single, nodding, yellow flower. Petals and sepals are bent backwards exposing six brown stamens. Single-leaved, non-flowering plants also occur, either too young or too crowded to flower.

Recognized by its brown-mottled leaves, this is one of our most common spring ephemeral wildflowers, and it is found in sizable colonies. The common name (Dogtooth Violet) refers to the toothlike shape of the white underground bulb. The name Trout Lily (a more suitable name since the flower is not a Violet) refers to the similarity between the leaf markings and those of the brown or brook trout. The White Dogtooth Violet (E. albidum) has narrow, mottled leaves and white, bell-shaped flowers, often tinged with lavender on the outside. It is found from southern Ontario to Georgia, west to Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma, and north to Minnesota. Minnesota Adders Tongue (E. propullans), found only in Minnesota, has pink flowers and produces a small bulb midway up the stem.

So here are a couple images that I captured of the Trout Lily hopefully it this post will give you enough info to be able to hike and enjoy these beautiful little wildflowers !!

 

 

trouy lily 1 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

trouy lily 2 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Meadow Beauty

I spent some time at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refugee over the weekend working with the annual butterfly count  they host.  If you have never been to Big Oaks you are truly missing out on a unique experience, the refugee offers a diversity of life that has few rivals in the Midwest.

I pulled this from their site…

Big Oaks Refuge contains the largest unfragmented forested block in southeastern Indiana and some of the largest grassland areas found within the region. The refuge provides habitat for 120 species of breeding birds, the Federally endangered Indiana bat, and 41 species of fish. The refuge also is home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey, river otters, and coyotes. Over 25 State-listed animal species and over 46 State-listed plant species have been discovered to date on the refuge. Many bird species of management concern are also found here, including Henslow’s sparrows and cerulean warblers. Over 800 singing male Henslow’s sparrows use the large grasslands on the refuge. Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area because of its value to Henslow’s sparrows and other migratory birds.

While working with the count I refugee volunteer told me about a rare wildflower thta grows in the area and told me of the location and I was able to get back and photograph this truly unique little wildflower.

Virginia Meadow Beauty is the flower and it is a really cool addition to the many other wildflowers I have been able to share with you over the years.  According to the Illinois wildflower website….The Meadow Beauty is considered not common. This native perennial wildflower is ½–2½’ tall and largely unbranched, except near the apex where some lateral stems with flowers are usually produced. Short plants are erect, while tall plants sometimes sprawl across the ground. The central stem is light green to purplish green, sharply 4-angled, narrowly winged, and sparsely to moderately covered with glandular hairs. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along the central stem; they are up to 3″ long and 1¼” across, medium green, sharply toothed and ciliate along their margins, hairless to slightly hairy across their upper and lower surfaces, and sessile. The central stem and upper lateral stems (if present) terminate in short cymes of showy flowers. The branches of each cyme are usually glandular-hairy. Each flower is 1–1½” across, consisting of 4 widely spreading petals that are pink to deep rose-pink, a tubular calyx with 4 widely spreading triangular teeth, 8 stamens with bright yellow to orange-yellow anthers, and a 4-celled ovary with a single long style. The tubular calyx is shaped like a vase with a constricted neck; it is covered with long bristly hairs. The long slender anthers are curved like a sickle; the pollen of each anther is released through a small pore at one end. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that remains hidden within the persistent calyx; the calyx becomes red to purplish red after the petals fall off the flower. Each seed capsule contains numerous tiny seeds that are less than 1 mm. in length. The root system is fibrous; some fibrous roots have tuberous swellings. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself.

And here a few examples of this awesome little flower and the wonderful structure they posses, hope you enjoy the post and info and if you are ever out hunting wildflowers maybe you will be able to come across this great piece of nature !!

 

                                                                                                                                                             virginia meadow beauty 2 2013

 

                                                                                                                                                                         virginia meadow beauty 1 2013

virginia meadow beauty 4 2013

 

Clifty Falls Wildflowers

Thought I might share a few more wildflower images from this past spring. I photographed these little beauties at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana. It was a great wildflower season once again here in Southern Indiana and my favorite place to shoot at, Clifty Falls,  didn’t disappoint.

There is such a wide variety of wildflowers that grow here and with the incredible color palette of the different species I just can’t seem to get enough time to shoot them all, and mow with all the summer wildflowers that I have begun to photograph it only makes life that much harder LOL !!

The three wildflowers that I am sharing today are Squirrel Corn, Rue Anemone and Wild Phlox.

These are beautiful subjects and I hope you enjoy viewing them half as much as I do in capturing their beauty. Hope you have a great day and thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     Squirell corn 1 2013

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                        false rue anemone 2 2013

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                    phlox 1 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clifty Falls Wildflowers

Downloaded some slideshow software for my portrait photography business and couldn’t resist putting together a show of images of wildflowers that I photographed at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana.

Finally the weather is changing and I won’t have to rely on  past years photographs of wildflowers  to keep my sanity I should be getting out by the first of the week and things should really be popping by then !!

Hope you enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed capturing all of these beautiful specimens of wildflowers, if you are ever in Southern Indiana you definitely have to make a stop at Clifty Falls especially in early spring it is one the most beautiful Sate Parks in the Midwest and a must stop on your vacation list !!

 

Large Flowering Trillium

Any day now the canyons and woodlots that surround my home here in Madison Indiana will come alive with the annual wildflower display that welcomes spring !!