One sad part of living in Southwestern Ohio (besides the weather) is the region’s distinct lack of carnivorous plants. We envy folks fortunate to have native species growing practically in their back yards, or within a short drive.
One day we headed north to hike at John Bryan State Park. Inside the visitor center, there was map of all the state parks in Ohio hanging on the wall, several of which had the word “Bog” in the title. Bogs in Ohio?! This was worth checking out.
Turns out, Ohio does have bogs
In fact, Ohio used to have a ton of bogs, many of which were part of The Great Black Swamp until it was drained to make room for farmland. Today only a few bogs remain, spread throughout the middle and northern parts of the state. Not every bog has carnivorous plants, but to our excitement some of them do! Ohio’s bogs are home to several species of carnivorous plants including Sarracenia purpurea, Drosera rotundifolia, Drosera intermedia, and a few types of Utricularia.
Cedar Bog err… Fen
The first stop on our travels took us to Cedar Bog northeast of Dayton. Cedar Bog is the largest fen in Ohio.
Why the state decided to call a fen a bog is a bit confusing.
What’s the difference between a fen and a bog?
In short, bogs are closed systems and typically very acidic. They get most, if not all, of their water from rainfall. Fens on the other hand, tend to have a neutral or alkaline pH and get their water from surface and underground sources. As a sign in the visitor’s center bathroom put nicely…”Fens flush, bogs clog.”
Cedar Bog has a boardwalk that allows visitors to explore the area while minimizing damage to the environment. From our research, we knew that D. rotundifolia and a species of bladderwort were in the area…but didn’t know where exactly to look. We moved slowly, but eventually transitioned from the wooded area into a grassland with plenty of sun. A little green flash in the sea of brown caught our eye, it was Drosera rotundifolia!
Drosera rotundifolia next to the boardwalk in Cedar Bog