Blue Lobelia

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This blue counterpart of the Cardinal Flower blooms bright blue in late summer. Lobelias have 2-lipped flowers with a 2-lobed upper lip and a 3-lobed lower lip.

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The preference is wet to moist soil and partial sun. I often see it at this time of the year growing along the Ohio & Erie Canal.

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The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily bumblebees and other long-tongued bees. Its species name, siphilitica, is a reference to the old folk medicine belief that extracts made from the plant could cure syphilis.

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Great Blue Lobelia is one of my favorite plants and it provides some welcome diversity with its violet-blue flowers during late Summer or Fall.

Third Eye Herp

Yellowbelly Slider

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This species is one of the most conspicuous basking turtles throughout its range. They are wary when basking and slide into the water whenever disturbed – hence, the name “slider.”

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This is a large freshwater turtle reaching a shell length of 12 inches. It is native to the southeastern United States, though I’ve seen at least two (the turtles in this post) in Ohio this year. The yellow blotch behind the eye is the most conspicuous marking and is most prominent in juveniles and females.

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As you might  expect, their bottom part of the shell, called a plastron, is creamy lemon yellow in color, and they use its smooth surface to help them slide from riverbank to water at the first sign of perceived danger.

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Adults also prefer a high-protein diet when it is available. But slider turtles can subsist on a vegetative diet, although their growth rates may be significantly lower than that of turtles whose diet is mostly meat.

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The Yellowbelly Slider is a habitat generalist, living in slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps, marshes and permanent ponds.

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Sliders, as well as other species of turtles, can live for more than half a century. The distribution of Yellowbelly Sliders is actually much wider than it was historically and includes places as distant as Europe, Africa and Asia.

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That’s because millions of baby sliders were raised and sold in pet shops here and abroad as “dime store turtles.” Of the relatively small percentage that survived during captivity, many were dumped into local waterways when the owners tired of caring for them.

Third Eye Herp

Oyster Mushrooms


The Autumn forest is brightened with the delicate, translucent, caps cascading from the surface of dead hardwood trees. This is a mushroom that lives up to its name — it looks, smells, and tastes like oysters.


Oyster Mushrooms are wide and fleshy. They can be white, gray or brown. The caps can be up to eight inches wide and are usually in a semi-circle shape.


The white, hairless gills (which become yellowish with age) descend the short, stub-like, lateral stalk.


They grow throughout North America. If it rains enough and it’s not too hot or cold, you can find them during anytime, although they’re most commonly seen around this time of year.


Oyster Mushrooms, like other fungi, are good food and habitat for small creatures, such as insects. These small animals also help spread spores (like seeds of a plant) so that new Oyster Mushrooms can grow in new places.


Larger animals like to eat this fungi too, like Eastern Box Turtles, White-tailed Deer and Eastern Gray Squirrels. They are also an edible favorite among wild mushroom collectors and are cultivated on farms for human consumption.

Third Eye Herp

Ebony Jewelwing

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The Ebony Jewelwing is a damselfly. Damselflies are closely related to dragonflies and they look very much alike.

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The easiest way to tell dragonflies and damselflies apart is to look at the wings. Dragonfly wings stick straight out from the body when the dragonfly is resting. Damselfly wings usually fold back above the body.

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This two-inch insect is easily recognized by its all-black wings and iridescent metallic green body (the body may also appear black or blue depending on the light). Females have a white spot on their wings.

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Ebony Jewelwings are found wherever there are shady forest streams. When they fly they look a lot like a butterfly because they flutter. They often stop to rest on leaves or twigs. Both sexes can be found together; males often face off in slow, circular “dances” that call to mind World War I aces squaring off for battle.

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Ebony Jewelwings can be seen flying from May to August. They are not only beautiful, but beneficial, eating large numbers of gnats, aphids, flies, and other insects.

Third Eye Herp


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Hawthorns comprise the single largest group of trees and large shrubs that inhabit the woods and fields of Ohio, about 60 species.


They are known primarily for their white Spring flowers and Autumn fruits, which can be yellow, orange, or red in color. Here are some flowers from back in May.


Hawthorns have a sturdy yet enchanting presence that exudes a mighty strength for such a relatively small, twiggy, thorny tree.


These trees tend to colonize pastures, where their thorns prevent animals from grazing on them. Heights range from 10 to 25 feet, and widths about 15 to 30 feet.


Hawthorn berries have been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. The extract from this tree’s leaves and berries are still used today to treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

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These trees are so named by a combination of an alternative name for its fruits (haws) and the plentiful thorns found singly on its twigs.

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The wild berries are consumed by birds and other wildlife. People eat the berries as well – and they are made into jellies, jams, pies and tarts.

Third Eye Herp