Native Orchids of Ohio and Adjacent States

There are over 200 different orchid species native to the USA, and the Ohio valley is home to over 50 species, including some of the most spectacular ones. We have planned a tour and dates that will maximize the number of slipper orchid species that we will see (e.g. Cypripedium acaule, C. acaule var. alba, C. parviflorum var. pubescens, C. parviflorum var. makasin, C. kentuckiense, C. candidum, C. x andrewsii) in addition to many other lovely orchid species including Galearis spectabilis, Isotria verticillata, Spiranthes lucida, Aplectrum hyemale var. pallida, and Neottia cordata. The Ohio valley also has several famous historical sites including the Serpent Mound, Fort Hill Earthworks, the Portsmouth Murals, Kelley’s Island, the Glacial Grooves and the Marblehead Lighthouse, all of which are featured on our tour. Other flowers and interesting plants will include the lakeside daisies (Tetraneuris herbacea), lupines, azaleas, interrupted ferns, and forest lousewort. Our tour begins in Columbus Ohio, travels south and west to bordering Kentucky, north and west to neighboring Michigan and ends in Buffalo, NY, with the spectacular Niagara falls as the finale. Our small group will be traveling in a minibus, and staying at very nice hotels near the reserves and conservation sites. Our guides Angela Carter and Jeanne Rhinehart both live in the Ohio Valley, are active in the Native Orchid Preservation and Education Society, and know all the best sites to see these orchids and other wildflowers. We will visit several conservation reserves and areas that not open to the public.

Dates & Prices

  • Dates: May 13-May 25, 2023
  • Price: $2800 $1000 single supplement (total $3800).
  • Deposit: $500 per person. Due by Feb 1. (Refundable up to this date)
  • Final Payments Due: April 1, 2023
  • Price includes: Price includes ground transportation, driver, guides, breakfast and lunch, hotel accommodations, entry to reserves, parks et. 
  • Not included: Round trip airfare, travel insurances, alcohol, personal items, tips. Also for this trip, dinner is not included in the price. This is due to the very limited choices for vegetarians at many of the restaurants. The hotels are located in areas near local restaurants, so participants can make their own choices.
  • Conservation Donation: Included in the price is a donation (~$500 per person) to the Orchid Conservation Alliance. The Orchid Conservation Alliance is a 501(c)3 organisation, and for USA residents, the donation may be tax deductible. A formal acknowledgement letter with the exact amount donated is sent to each participant at year end
  •  Leader: Angela Carter and Jeanne Rhinehart
  •  Group size: Maximum of 8

Thank you to Al Gibson, Ron Coleman, Jeanne Rhinehart, Angela Carter and Jun Lao for the use of your photos to promote the tour.

Day 1 (May 14). Participants will be picked up at approximately 9 am and transported by Minibus to Shawnee State Park (approximately 2 hr drive).

We will explore the Wilderness trail (expected orchids: Cypripedium acaule, Pink Lady’s-Slipper & var alba, Galearis spectabilis, Showy Orchis Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Large Yellow Lady’s-Slipper). Explore the Nature Center trail (expected orchids: Galearis spectabilis, Showy Orchis Isotria verticillatq, Large Whorled Pogonia).

Overnight at Portsmouth Holiday Inn.

Day 2 (May 15). Explore the Lookout trail and other forest trails (Expected orchids and other plants: Cypripedium acaule, Pink Lady’s-Slipper & white color form, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Large Yellow Lady’s-Slipper, azaleas, interrupted fern, forest lousewort)

Overnight at Portsmouth Holiday Inn

Day 3 (May 16). Explore Pike State Forest and Fort Hill Earthworks and Nature preserve(Expected orchids: Spiranthes lucida Shining Ladies’-Tresses, Aplectrum hyemale var pallida, puttyroot. Visit Ash Cave Fire Tower and Wahkeena SNP (Expected orchids: Cypripedium acaule, Pink Lady’s-Slipper and var. alba, Cypripedium acaule, Pink Lady’s-Slipper and Aplectrum hyemale, puttyroot). Fort Hill is one of the best preserved examples of what is known as an ancient hilltop enclosure. It was built by American Indians of the Hopewell culture, about 2000 years ago.

Overnight at Portsmouth Holiday Inn

Day 4 (May 17). A day out for culture and conservation. Visit the Serpent Mound Historical site, a 1348 foot long three foot high prehistoric effigy mound in Peebles Ohio. Built by ancient Indian tribes of Ohio. Visit AOA.

Overnight at Portsmouth Holiday Inn

Day 5 (May 18). Visit Kentucky, also Portsmouth murals (Expected orchids and other plants: Cypripedium kentuckiense, Southern Lady’s-Slipper).

Overnight at Portsmouth Holiday Inn

Day 6 (May 19). Depart Portsmouth and drive to Castalia Prairie (approximately 3.5 hr). Explore Castalia Prairie. (Expected orchids: Cypripedium candidum, Small White Lady’s-Slipper & C. x andrewsii). We may make additional stops en route for orchids

Overnight at Comfort Inn and Suites, Maumee OH

Day 7 (May 20). Visit one or more Oak Openings preserve, Morgan Swamp Preserve, Kingsville Sand Barrens Diverse landscapes, rare plants and animals.  (Expected orchids and other plants: Neottia cordata Heartleaf Twayblade, lupines, starflower)

Overnight at Comfort Inn and Suites, Maumee OH

Day 8 (May 21). Visit Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, Marblehead Lighthouse, travel by ferry to Kelley’s Island. (Expected plants:Lakeside Daisies (Tetraneuris herbacea, a federally threatened plant, various terrestrial orhids?). The Lakeside Daisy Nature Preserve on Lake Erie, is the site of a former limestone quarry and the country’s only substantial natural stand of the Lakeside Daisy. Kelley’s Island is a well-known natural area with unique geological, ecological and archaeological features. We will visit the Glacial Grooves, the largest and most accessible example of this geological phenomenon in the world. This is a National Natural Landmark, with grooves that are 400 feet long, 35 feet wide and up to 15 feet deep, created by the slow movement of the massive glacier that created the Great Lakes. 

Overnight at Comfort Inn and Suites, Maumee OH

Day 9 (May 22). Visit the Waterloo recreation area. (Expected orchids: Arethusa bulbosa, Dragon’s Mouth, Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin, Northern Small Yellow Lady’s-Slipper   

Cypripedium acaule, Pink Lady’s-Slipper).

Overnight at Comfort Inn and Suites, Maumee OH

Day 10 (May 23). Depart Toledo and drive towards Buffalo NY (approximately 5 hrs). En route we will stop and visit the Nature Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve.  This is one of the largest privately protected forested wetlands in Ohio. The wetlands include bogs, beaver ponds and vernal pools, with a diversity of plants and animals.  Visit Niagara Falls.

Overnight at Buffalo Airport Hotel

Day 11 (May 24). Visit Bergen Swamp and Zurich Bog . If time permits, also visit Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the product of landscaping architect Frederick Law Olmsted, glass house architects Lord and Burnham, and botanist and plant explorer John F. Cowell.

Overnight at Buffalo Airport Hotel

Day 12 (May 25). Participants depart from Buffalo home. Our mini-bus will be driving back to Columbus, and any participants who left their cars at the Columbus Holiday Inn will be taken back to the hotel to pick up their cars.

Angela CarterAngela Carter is the President of the Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society. She is an expert on the native orchids and other wildflowers of the Ohio valley, and frequently leads small group nature tours. Angela and Jeanne Rhinehart are active members of the Native Orchid Preservation and Education Society, and travel nearly every weekend during the orchid season to observe, conserve and photograph native orchids and other wildflowers.

Air Transportation: If flying to Columbus, participants should plan to arrive on May 13 in (John Glenn Columbus International Airport) There is a free airport shuttle to the hotel (Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, Gahanna (John Glenn Columbus International Airport). Departures should be May 25 from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

If driving/local plan to arrive at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, Gahanna (John Glenn Columbus International Airport) before 8:00 am on May 14. We will make arrangements for these participants to leave vehicles at the hotel for the duration. If not staying evening of May 13, a $135 credit pp will be applied.

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