Special to 1812Blockhouse from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
The number of native plant species in Ohio grew by five in 2021. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Natural Area and Preserves (DNAP) had great success locating the state’s rarest plants last year.
“Rare plant discoveries are exciting for the future conservation of our state,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “This was another great year for our botanical community, as nature continues to surprise and inspire us.”
Botanists found several new native plant species in Ohio including:
“Finding new species and populations of rare plants is not only rewarding for the discoverers and exciting for the botanical community, it is critically important for their protection,” ODNR Chief Botanist Rick Gardner said. “It gives us the opportunity to survey, monitor, and target efforts to protect them and ensures a more accurate understanding of the species’ status as a whole.”
In addition to the new native plants, botanists found one presumed extirpated plant in 2021, curved tortilla moss (Tortella inclinata) in Ottawa County. It was last seen in the 1990s.
Other notable finds included more than a dozen endangered species, such as Coville’s scorpion-weed (Phacelia colvillei), small-flowered scorpion-weed (Phacelia dubia), primrose-leaved violet (Viola primulifolia), water-plantain spearwort (Ranunculus ambigens), and little prickly sedge (Carex echinata).
These surprising finds show that there are still important discoveries to be made throughout Ohio’s landscapes and natural communities. For more information about Ohio’s rare plants, click here.
The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves administers Ohio’s rare plant list which currently contains over 600 species. Ohioans can donate all or part of their state income tax return to support DNAP’s efforts in inventorying and monitoring these rare plants, as well as enhancing and restoring their habitats. For more information on how to make a donation, visit the ODNR website.
Contributions can also be made year-round via check sent to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, 2045 Morse Road, Building H-3, Columbus, OH 43229.