History

When the glaciers reached the bedrock hills of Bellefontaine, they formed around the highest point in the state. In turn, the glacial hills formed a line to the east and west, leaving the Cedar Bog (which isn’t a bog) in the bottom of the valley. Cedar Bod is a valley shaped like a “U” that holds water throughout the valley, causing the water to bubble up to the surface. This water reaches the bog (not a bog) by surface runoff from the uplands, groundwater filtering through the gravel that was left by the glaciers, and deep groundwater from the ancient Teays River Valley.

Scavenger Hunt: Two White Asteraceae

Boneset

Boneset is a very “hairy” type of Asteraceae, as you can see in the first picture. Boneset also has opposite, stalkless leaves that are fused together across the stem, making them look like a single leaf that has been pierced by the stem. (https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/american-boneset-common-boneset)

A fun fact about Boneset is that it was frequently used as a medicine by Native Americans and by early European settlers, who took the herb back to Europe where it was used to treat the flu.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Boneset Plant Info: How To Grow Boneset Plants In The Garden https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/boneset/growing-boneset-plants.htm

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot has fluffy white flower heads, light green to tan stems that are hairless (or nearly so), and opposite leaves that become smaller as they ascend the stems.

When looking at White Snakeroot, look for the elaborate, curving trails on some leaves. These are the work of a species of fly (Liriomyza eupatoriella) that makes white snakeroot its host. The fly lays its eggs on the leaf, and after they hatch, the larvae feed on the leaf tissue, tunneling their way around and creating beautiful, albeit destructive patterns.

Although it may look pretty, there is some dark history about the White Snakeroot plant. In the early 19th century, European settlers, unfamiliar with the plant, allowed cows and other domestic animals to feed on it. A toxin in the plant called tremetol tainted the cow’s milk, causing sickness and death to those who drank it, calves as well as humans. Milk sickness, as it was called, claimed the lives of thousands of people, including, it is thought, Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Native Americans, who made poultices with snakeroot, knew of its toxic properties, but their botanical knowledge was frequently overlooked by settlers, to their detriment.

https://www.bbg.org/news/weed_of_the_month_white_snakeroot

Other Plants, Features, and Creatures of the Fen

Swamp Birch

Fen Grass of Parnassus

Downy Goldenrod

Swamp Milkweed

Five-Striped Skink

Iron-Oxidized Bacteria

Iron-oxidizing bacteria are chemotropic bacteria that derive energy by oxidizing dissolved iron. Iron is important and required by many organisms to carry out metabolic reactions, such as forming proteins involved in biochemical reactions. This orange water typically comes up from the bottom, where water sources are present under the ground, and leak into the surface. This makes sense here at Cedar Bog due to all of the water collection underneath the ground. But don’t worry, this is a sign of a healthy habitat and is very important!

For more information:

What’s this stuff in my stream!?