CLEVELAND — Ohio is home to vast tracts of unspoiled nature, and for botanists, it’s the perfect playground to discover new native plant species that have never been recorded before. In 2021, the number of rare native plant species found across Ohio's wilds grew by five.
“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.”
New plants species found in Ohio include:
- Dodge’s hawthorn (Crataegus dodgei) was found in Portage County.
- Hairy lip fern (Myriopteris lanosa) was discovered in Lawrence County
- Lovely shadbush (Amelanchier amabilis) was discovered in Cuyahoga County.
- Provancher’s fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus var. provancheri) was found in Ottawa County.
- Yellowish-white bladderwort (Utricularia ochroleuca) was discovered in Clark and Champaign counties.
Finding new plant discoveries is an indicator the state’s ecosystem is in good health.
“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.”
Botanists also found one plant that was presumed extirpated when it was last seen in the 1990s. They found curved tortilla moss in Ottawa County last year.
These rare plants discovered native to Ohio show that there are still important discoveries to be made. The rare plant listin Ohio currently has over 600 species on it.
Six Ohio plants—running buffalo clover, northern monkshood, prairie fringed orchid, Virginia spire, Lakeside daisy and small whorled pogonia— are also on the federal endangered list.
ODNR relies heavily on volunteers, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, and environmental consultants to track the status of rare plant populations. Members of the public are asked to contact the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves if they have questions or information concerning these species at 614-265-6453.
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