The Lakeside Daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea) is a tough little flower that only grows in four known locations in the United States. It is a federally threatened species and has been listed as endangered in Ohio since 1980. In early May, an ordinary looking gravel patch along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile bursts into full bloom on a 137-acre preserve – Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, the only natural population of the Lakeside Daisy remaining in the United States. This preserve, located on the Marblehead Peninsula at 309 Alexander Pike (off SR 163), Marblehead, Ohio, is only open to the public during the month of May.
In 1988, Ohio’s Division of Natural Areas and Preserves acquired 19 acres of the abandoned limestone quarry and in 2019, added 118 acres to that, protecting over 700,000 daisies. The long-lived perennial grows where few other plants can survive, and when you see the Lakeside Daisy Preserve, you’ll appreciate how extremely difficult those growing conditions can be. This long-lived perennial grows on nearly barren limestone bedrock in full sunlight from early May through early June.
Lakeside Chautauqua, the site of the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs’ 2020 Gardeners’ Day Out in August, is just a few miles from the nature preserve, has its own patch of Lakeside daisies. In 2000, Sid Foster established a bed of Lakeside daisies on Lakeside’s lakefront near Perry Park. The garden is in memory of his grandmother, Daisy Farley Foster, who was a Lakeside resident from 1913-1959. Sid Foster, Dottie McDowell and McDowell’s family maintain the garden for all to enjoy.
We have all been asked to be tough during the COVID-19 crisis. Being isolated may feel like a barren landscape. But just as the Lakeside Daisy appears bright and unaffected by the difficult surroundings, we, too, will again rise to the sun, admire the sky, and dance with the wind. I hope you can visit Marblehead when the Lakeside Daisy is in bloom! ODNR has a Wildflower Bloom Report on its website. http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers/post/wildflower-bloom-report-starts-soon GrOw with it!!
by OAGC 2nd Vice President, June Gebhardt