Saturday, June 30, 2018

Prairie plants of Ohio

On Friday afternoon of the second week of the Lakeside season John Blakeman of Sandusky spoke on “The Ohio Prairie Story.”  Called “Noah of the Prairie” because he rescues plants, Blakeman told us prairies are part of Ohio’s heritage, although one usually thinks of Iowa and Nebraska.  Ohio didn’t have many bison, but elk were common.  Fires are essential for prairie regrowth because there are some seed that need the heat to pop and reseed.  The plants are dense and grow deep, with about 1/3 above ground.  The plants he showed us usually grow only on the prairie—he went through the slides quickly and there are Latin names for all, but these are the common names, best as I can read my notes.
Sorghastrum nutans - Indian Grass 
Indian grass

Michigan lily

Whorled Rosinweed 
White lady slipper orchid
  • Indian grass
  • Switch grass
  • Cord grass
  • Tall sunflower
  • Ashy sunflower
  • Butterfly weed
  • Milkweed
  • New England aster
  • False White Indigo
  • Water hemlock (very poisonous, looks like Queen Anne’s lace)
  • Dense blazingstar
  • Wild bergamot
  • Prairie coneflower
  • Ohio spiderwort
  • Michigan lily
  • Rough white lettuce (requires fire)
  • Virginia meadow beauty
  • Tall coreopsis
  • Prairie Dock (stem will get 11’ tall with yellow flowers)
  • Whorled rosinweed
  • White lady slippers orchid (needs fire)
 Blakeman (former high school biology teacher) has established a number of prairie grass areas in Ohio, including one at Terra Technical College, as well as yard prairies for individuals, and our new prairie garden in Lakeside at 6th and Laurel across from the new swimming pool and wellness center.

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