Unsung beauties lie ready for discovery in the fields

Bees (including this honeybee) love this prairie rose. The rosehips created by the flower are high in vitamin C. Native

A stroll or run through a Metro Park provides many views—forest, fields, mid-succession areas and mowed lawn areas. Fields provide a habitat for many plants and animals and are typically maintained to stay as that habitat, but were not planted with prairie flowers and grasses.

If left alone, most fields and prairies would revert back to forest over time. To the casual observer, there are many colors but individual flowers can be easily overlooked. Many are quite interesting and upon further investigation, may prove to have hundreds of flowers in what one may think is just one flower.

Wildflowers are considered either native or naturalized. Native flowers were in the state prior to European settlement. Other flowers are non-native and were brought to America either accidentally or on purpose. They naturalized to their new environment. Some flowers have spread and become invasive.

Many of these non-native flowers have been in Ohio for over 200 years and were the source for interesting folk remedies. Some of these naturalized plants are now called weeds because of their abilities to grow in yards and to spread. Regardless of their country of origin, many wildflowers provide a foodsource for our pollinating insects.

Below are some native and naturalized wildflowers that can easily been seen in a field during a short walk. But remember to stop and take a closer look. Make sure you head out soon, as our living landscape is ever-changing. Stay tuned-in to a field near you. New flowers are waiting to bloom and our planted and restored prairies will soon be alive with fiery colors.

Sharon Woods Naturalist