Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Regional Fauna (Ohio and Colorado)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
When traveling I can't help but notice the different plants from one place to another. My first experience in this was moving from Ohio to Northern Arizona for college (yes, ages ago). What a difference it was for me moving from lush, almost jungle like growth to the sparsity of plants growing from rocky soil. It took awhile to appreciate the beauty of those tiny mustards growing out of rock.

After spending this week in Ohio it again makes me realize how different Ohio plants are from those of my new Colorado home. Native plants of Ohio include far more trees than Colorado (much of which is considered grassland) such as maples, birch, buckeyes and oaks. Herbacous plants include meadow rue, rose mallow, black eyed Susans, and milkweed. One of my favorites is wild ginger.

Native Colorado plants I am used to include blue columbine, geranium, blue flax, yarrow, penstemon and grape holly. I'll be sure to plant some of these in my new flower bed next year.

Many of the plants we consider wild however are not natives but plants that have become acclimatized and in some cases are considered noxious because they drive out the native plants changing the ecology of the environment. For instance, burdock grows rampant in the fields in Ohio, but it is not native. It was transplanted from Europe centuries ago. Plantain and red clover, both growing in Ohio and Colorado again were brought over by European settlers probably for their medicinal qualities. Its good to know about native plants in your area so you can help preserve them by doing plantings that include them. Do you try to plant natives in your landscape?

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