Fields of Yellow

Field of Butterweed, Funk Wildlife Area, Wayne County, Ohio

If you drove any of Ohio’s country roads during May, your eye was almost certainly drawn to fields of bright yellow flowers, often covering many acres and stretching to the horizon, like the scene shown in the photo above, taken on May 25 during a visit to Funk Wildlife Area, a few miles west of Wooster in Wayne County. I used a 50mm setting on a 16-80mm Nikkor zoom lens mounted on my Nikon D500 camera to make this photo, then switched to a 100-400mm Tamron zoom lens at a 125mm setting to create the more abstract photo shown below.  

Butterweed Abstract, Funk Wildlife Area, Wayne County, Ohio

The common name for the attractive but highly invasive wildflower shown in these images is Butterweed, also known as Yellowtop, Packera glabella, which is native to central and southeast North America and has spread rapidly northward – it is almost certainly growing in all 88 Ohio counties. Butterweed is especially fond of wet, no-till agricultural fields and is highly toxic to cattle, horses, and humans! On the plus side, Butterweed is a valuable spring nectar source for bees and butterflies.

Canola Field, Bruce County, Ontario, Canada

I made the photo shown above during a return trip from the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario on June 8, 2018. The light yellow flowers blanketing the field are Rapeseed, a type of mustard that is used to make Canola oil, widely used for cooking. Bright sunny days are generally not my favorite lighting for landscape photography, but the combination of blue sky, red barns, and lemon yellow flowers made an irresistible subject as I headed south toward the United States/Canada border crossing at Sarnia, Michigan.

Sunflowers near Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio

In late summer and early fall, fields of sunflowers may be found in many areas of the Buckeye State. The scene shown in the photo above included the added attraction of a complementary blue sky and an attractive red barn in the background. The roadside viewpoint was several feet above the field, which provided an excellent perspective for composing the field of sunflowers, all of which were facing the camera.  Sunflowers practice heliotropism (following the sun’s rays). While budding, their heads face east in morning and west in the late afternoon. Once the flower blooms, however, it seeks the eastern view only.

Tickseed Sunflowers, Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, Wyandot County, Ohio

At roughly the same time that sunflower fields are blooming around Ohio, several species of native yellow wildflowers create their own yellow fields around the Buckeye State. At Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area near Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County, acres of Tickseed Sunflowers, Bidens polylepis, border some of the dirt roads. Further west, near Celina in Mercer County, Bur-Marigolds, Bidens laevis, bloom in a wet meadow near a woodland, shown in the photo below.

Bur-Marigolds, Near Celina, Mercer County, Ohio

In late summer and early fall, another group of Ohio wildflowers gather along the roadsides of the Buckeye State for a yellow fields final act, as shown in the photo below.

Goldenrod Along SR 147, Belmont County, Ohio

Ohio is home to about 23 species of Goldenrod, mostly in the genus Solidago. I have no idea how many different Goldenrod species are growing in the scene shown above, but I liked how the foreground fence post and the tiny cottage near the horizon provide a sense of scale in this Ohio hill country vista.

Goldenrod & New England Aster, Delaware Wildlife Area, Ohio

Although groups of Goldenrod flowers are often photogenic enough to compose on their own, the vivid purple flowers of New England Aster can make an even more striking combination when teamed with patches of Goldenrod.

Tall Goldenrod, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

I will conclude this article with a portrait of Tall Goldenrod, Solidago altissima (I think) towering over six feet along a trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Enjoy your travels along Ohio’s country roads, bordered by fields of yellow flowers like patches of sunshine.  

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Good shots Ian! The butterweed abstract and the Kidron sunflowers are my favorites.

  2. Thanks, Randy. I concur with your expert eye – the butterweed abstract and sunflower photo are my favorites too!

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