Spring Beauty

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One of our prettiest and earliest-blooming wildflowers is also a delicious vegetable. It may be the definitive tater tot. Spring Beauties are small, low-to-the-ground wildflowers that feature a star-like cluster of five white to light pink flowers. Closer examination of the petals will reveal an array of fine pink stripes and a pleasant floral fragrance.

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It sports grasslike, succulent, dark green leaves that usually occur in pairs. In early spring, and are usually found in pairs. It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests.

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Spring Beauty is found in the eastern two-thirds of the United States. One reason for why the spring beauty is so common is its ability to survive in areas that have suffered land degradation such as livestock grazing and partial tree removal.

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According to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Spring Beauties are not only beautiful spring ephemeral, but a tasty spud-like vegetable. The tiny, sweet tubers are high in potassium and vitamin A and are a good source of calcium and vitamin C. They can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, roasted, or mashed.

Third Eye Herp

Meadow Vole


While looking for snakes this week I came across a small mammal. The Meadow Vole is a small, common rodent that lives in grassy fields, woodland, marshes, often along lakes and rivers.

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This creature is active year-round, usually at night. Meadow Voles make nests in clumps of grass. From their nests, they build tunnels beneath the grass and plants.


The Meadow Vole’s diet includes many things, including grasses, sedges, seeds, flowers, leaves and roots. These animals can eat their weight daily. These mammals occur throughout most of the northern and eastern United States and Canada.

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Meadow Voles have a remarkable reproductive output. Females can breed when they are a month old and produce litters of 3-10 pups every three weeks for the duration of their lives. Their typical lifespan is 12-18 months.

Third Eye Herp

Butler’s Garter Snake


While visiting the northwestern part of my home state of Ohio, I came across this cool little serpent. It is named after ornithologist Amos W. Butler of Indiana.

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This reptile only averages 15-20 inches in total length. Like other garter snakes, it features a pattern of dark stripes; unlike other garter snakes found in its range, it has a small, blunt head.


Butler’s Garter Snakes prefer moist meadows, marshes and lake edges. They subsist on a diet of mainly earthworms, but they may also eat leeches, salamanders and frogs.


These snakes breed in the spring, soon after emerging from hibernation. They produce live offspring which are born in midsummer. Females typically give birth to eight to 10 young.


When frightened, these snakes may wriggle rapidly back and forth with little forward motion, creating an image of more towards thrashing in place, rather than to getting away. It was awesome to encounter this reptile, which does not live in my region of the Buckeye State.

Third Eye Herp

Wild Onion

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I often see this bulbous herb when hiking in the springtime, as it really stands out against the brown fallen leaves. It has a distinct onion odor, slender grass-like leaves and reaches about 2 feet in height by late summer.

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It is thought that the name Chicago is derived from the smell of Wild Onions. The Potawatomi, who were the most powerful tribe around the south end of Lake Michigan, hunted, traded furs, and occasionally camped in the area they called “Checagou,” evidently referring to the garlic wild onion smell which scented the air.

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This plant is found in meadows and woodlands in the northeastern and north central United States. Onions and garlic belong to the Lily family. Wild Onions were collected and eaten by Native Americans and by European settlers. Native American tribes also used the plant for other purposes like rubbing the plant on the body for protection from insect bites.

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This plant is a Winter perennial; it emerges in late Fall from underground bulbs and grows through the Winter and Spring. Therefore it sight (and smell) can be enjoyed at this time of the year.

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