There are still more Ohio wildflowers to talk about, but I want to be sure to get to this one, so I'll do it now. This was the most exciting botanical find of the whole trip, and I didn't even see it in bloom.
This is twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla You can easily see why it gets the common name, because of the split leaf.
How rare is this? Pretty rare. Although this was in Ohio, I'll use the Michigan Floristic Quality Assessment document to make my point. This is a chart which lists all Michigan plants and gives various points of information about them. One of them is called the Coefficient of Conservatism. Although this is somewhat subjective, it purports to assign a number to each plant based on the number of habitats where it will grow. The numbers range from 0 to 10. So a plant with a CC of 0 will grow just about anywhere, it will be very common and you'd likely call it a weed.
At the other end of the spectrum, a plant with a CC of 10 will require a very specialized habitat to grow, and you aren't going to see this plant very often. You'd probably have to go looking for the specific type of ecosystem.
Jeffersonia has a CC of 9. See why I get pretty excited? It's protected in a number of states.
If you get lucky, you can find it in most mid-Atlantic and midwestern states from Ontario to Georgia.
I have to be honest and tell you that most of the miles of reclaimed mining land we walked through were covered with horrible invasive plants, particularly autumn olive, and black swallow-wort. When we happened across this area, about a half-mile along the trail, that was swathed in twinleaf, it was pretty amazing.
Just so you know, the flower is white with eight petals. It looks a lot like the bloodroot flower, although they are not related. These had already bloomed this year. The seed pod is interesting, but I didn't manage to get a picture of it in focus.
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