There are hundreds of plant species classified as endangered in Ohio, but only five of which have become so rare that they’ve made the federal endangered and threatened species list. One such species, the running buffalo clover, is also considered federally endangered, while the others are classified as federally threatened.
Running Buffalo Clover
The running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) is a perennial plant that spreads by above-ground stolons and has typical clover leaves. The running buffalo clover blooms during May through June with white, globe-shaped, 1/3- to 1/2-inch-diameter flower heads that often have pinkish-purple veins. Now found in only 12 documented occurrences in the southwestern reaches of Ohio, the running buffalo clover has become endangered because of habitat destruction and competition with non-native invasive plants.
Growing up to about 3 1/2 feet, the northern monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense) is an herbaceous, tuberous perennial with two to five pinkish-purple petals and five deep-purple to lavender-blue sepals. Blooming from mid-July until mid-September, this endangered plant is now found only in Ohio’s Hocking, Portage and Summit counties, in very small and isolated populations. Northern monkshood grows in cooler, shady ravines near running water and on sandstone. This plant has become endangered because of deforestation, poaching and over-collecting, soil contamination, invasive plant competition and drifting of herbicides. The southern monkshood (A. uncinatum) is also classified as endangered in Ohio.
The lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea) is a densely-tufted perennial that blooms in 2- to 10-inch clumps atop stout rootstalks from late April through mid-May. In Ohio, this endangered plant is found only on the Marblehead Peninsula in Ottawa County, growing in full sunlight in dry, rocky sites, including limestone and dolomite quarries. The lakeside daisy has become endangered in Ohio from poaching and over-collecting, trampling and soil compaction, as well as overcrowding of woody plant species.
Small Whorled Pogonia
Growing to 10 inches in height and flowering from mid-May until mid-June is the small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides). Also called the little whorled pogonia, this endangered Ohio plant is found only in Hocking and Scioto counties, usually in open, second-growth hardwood forests or stands. The reported sighting of the small whorled pogonia in Scioto County was of a single plant in the Shawnee State Forest. Logging and other development or destruction of the habitat has caused the small whorled pogonia to become endangered in Ohio. The small whorled pogonia is considered the rarest North American orchid species.
Reaching nearly 10 feet, the Appalachian spiraea (Spiraea virginiana) is a shrub with fluffy white flowers and oblong leaves. In Ohio, the Appalachian spiraea is found only in Scioto County. This endangered Ohio plant blooms in late June and early July, growing along creek banks and gravelbars in mid-size streams. Because of its extremely specific habitat requirements and poor vegetative reproduction, as well as changes in stream water and creek characteristics, the Appalachian spiraea has become severely endangered. This endangered plant is also threatened by competing invasive plants like Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica).