Welcome to a little piece of Oklahoma. When I started taking these photos in 1994, I had no idea of the number or variety of flowers that were out there, and if any one had said that there were native Oklahoma orchids I would not of believed them.
Eastern Oklahoma is a land of rolling hills, lakes and rivers. When spring comes it is as if someone drops a curtain of green over the land. Some of these flowers (like the orchids) are hidden in this green curtain, while others stand along side the road for anyone to see. There are many different types of Oklahoma landscapes. Even today many people think of Oklahoma in terms of the Dust Bowl, thinking Oklahoma is a landscape void of interest. This is not true. Oklahoma has more species of plants per acre than any other state. Texas and California have more species, but Oklahoma has more variety per acre. This is true in part because of Oklahoma's Mid-Continent location. This year I have traveled to many parts of Oklahoma and have been amazed at the many different types of terrain That I have encountered. In south east Oklahoma you have the hills and forrest of Beavers Bend
Also in this part of the state you have the Talimena Drive which goes through the Quachita National Forrest.
As we get to the east central part of the state there is Robber's Cave where many infamous Oklahoma outlaws hid.
Where I live in Henryetta and the surrounding areas there are many rivers and lakes.
Just east and north of Tulsa is Red Bud Valley which contains several ecosystems including prairie and large limestone cliffs.
And then there is the Tall Grass Prairie. It is located in the north central part of the state. I had a common misconception about the prairie, I thought it was flat and treeless. While there are not many trees, the land rolls like an ocean on a windy day. I am afraid this photo does little justice to the Tall Grass.
In extreme west central Oklahoma the Antelope Hills rise out of the surrounding ranch land like the jewels in a necklace, and yes there are antelope there (really pronghorn).
In western Oklahoma we have less trees and the elevation goes up. There is a place in west central Oklahoma called Little Sahara where the landscape is sand dunes. Here is a photo of a 3 story high dune in that area. I was on top at the time.
And another view from the top.
In north central Oklahoma are the Glass Mountains so called because when the light is right the sun reflects of the selenite crystals which are in the soil. Here is one of the Glass Mountains
At last we come to Black Mesa,the highest point (at 4,978 feet) in Oklahoma and the furthest west. The area around Black Mesa. And another view from the top of the mesa.
I believe that there are at least two ways of seeing (or knowing) something. That is with your mind and with your heart. Speaking metaphorically of course. It always amazes me when I show people a picture of a wildflower and they say "oh thats nice" or something to that effect. They know with their mind that it is a thing of beauty but they really do not "see" it with their heart. It is after all about more than wildflowers; it is about Creation, and who can view Creation with an open mind and an open heart and not be amazed, speechless and humble?
Please enjoy these photos and come back often as I am always adding new photos and upgrading old ones. Also e-mail me and let me know if you liked what you saw.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in botany; I am just a guy with a camera. However if you have any questions about what you see or have seen elsewhere, I will be glad to try and help you. My greatest pleasure comes from hearing from people who have enjoyed what I have done here. Also this is not intended as a field guide. There are many good field guides out there; unfortunately there is not just one really great one.
Technical notes: My first camera had a resolution of 320 X 240 pixels. The second camera was 768 X 576. The third camera was a Sony D700 which had a resolution of 1344 X 1024. As of the year 2000 I am using a Nikon D1 which has a resolution of 2.6 million pixels.
A note on the way the images are produced: The camera stores the images on a PC card in jpeg format. I download the images using a card reader attached to my Mac. I open the images with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Imageready. For the most part all I do is crop the image, size it to fit the page and adjust the brightness and contrast. I use Adobe Imageready to optimize the image (this reduces the file size) and add the Digimarc watermark.
Acknowledgements: The folks at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa, Donna Horton and Bob Jennings, have been very helpful in finding the identity of flowers when I could not find them anywhere else. Also the folks at Brit,the Botanical Insititute Of Texas. And I have joined the Oklahoma Native Plant Society and go on their field trips. It is very helpful to have someone at hand to Identify the flora.
Jim and Sue (Wildwoman) Anglin their great wildflower garden and knowledge of wildflowers and Jim's great cooking. My mother, Lil, for helping me put the latin names to the flowers. A monumental task that I could not of done without her.
Thanks to Ian Butler of the Oklahoma Biological Survey for stepping in when I was in need of a new server for my website and offering to host the website for me. Finally the Oklahoma Wildflowers website is in Oklahoma instead of Massachusetts.
Charles S. Lewallen