Picture Ohio! – Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve

Jim Fulkert, Lakeside Daisy SNP, Ohio
Jim Fulkert, Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, Marblehead, Ohio

Surrounded by tens of thousands of Federally endangered Lakeside Daisies (Hymenoxys herbacea), 88-year-old Jim Fulkert of Port Clinton remembers his years as a quarry worker on the Marblehead Peninsula in northwest Ohio.

The Lafarge North America Marblehead Quarry in northwest Ohio on the Marblehead Peninsula produces four million tons of crushed limestone each year, making it one of the largest limestone quarries in the United States. Along Alexander Pike, which bisects the quarry, the prevailing terrain is mostly rock, like a lunar landscape punctuated by a few cedar trees and shrubs and piles of detritus from the quarrying operations. But in mid-May, large expanses of the old quarry turn into a carpet of yellow blossoms as hundreds of thousands of Lakeside Daisies burst into flower.

Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, Marblehead, Ohio
Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, Marblehead, Ohio

The Marblehead Peninsula is the only site in the United States where this dandelion-like flower blooms, making the Lakeside Daisy one of Ohio’s rarest plants. Local residents Colleen Taylor and Ruth Fiscus worked with Ohio’s Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to acquire 19 acres of the old quarry from the Standard Slag Company (now Lafarge North America), and the area was dedicated as Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve in 1988. For most of the year, access to the preserve requires a permit, but during May, when the Lakeside Daisies are blooming, the preserve is open to the public. There is a parking area on the east side of Alexander Pike, where you can walk into the old quarry. The daisies all bloom at about the same time, and the effect is like a yellow carpet spread out on the surface of the quarry. Close-up opportunities are a dime a dozen, and small cedar trees and limestone boulders add interest in scenic vistas of the flowers.

Lakeside Daisies, Ohio Governor's Residence Garden, Bexley
Lakeside Daisies, Ohio Governor's Residence Garden, Bexley

Although the Marblehead Peninsula in northwest Ohio is the only place in the United States where the Lakeside Daisy can be found growing in the wild, it has been successfully transplanted to many public gardens and arboretums, including the Ohio Heritage Garden at the Governor’s Residence in Bexley, just east of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The Holden Arboretum in northeast Ohio also has a number of Lakeside Daisy plants in the Myrtle Holden Wildflower Garden and the gardens at Lantern Court.

Bird Photographer & Lakeside Daisies

Bird Photographer & Lakeside Daisies

Surrounded by acres of photogenic Lakeside Daisies, my traveling companion demonstrates that she is, at heart, a bird photographer. We were heading back to northeast Ohio from a trip to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, about 30 miles west of  Marblehead. The blooming period of the Lakeside Daisy, usually the second and third week of May, is also the peak of the annual warbler migration in northern Ohio, when more than 30 species of warblers can be observed on the famous Bird Trail near Lake Erie at Magee Marsh. Photographing these tiny,  hyperactive, insect-chasing feathered beauties is one of the ultimate challenges in wildlife photography, compared to which Lakeside Daisy photography is a piece of cake.

The Lakeside Daisies were at the peak of their bloom when we visited yesterday, Wednesday, May 11. They will only bloom for another week to ten days, so visit soon if you want to enjoy this photogenic display of one of Ohio’s rarest plants.

Location: On Alexander Pike, 0.5 miles south of State Route 163 in Marblehead, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Tel: (614) 265-6453

Website: http://www.ohiodnr.com/location/dnap/lakeside_daisy/tabid/903/Default.aspx

GPS Coordinates: 41.535223N 82.727101W

This Post Has One Comment

  1. what is a uri? wonderful, beautiful photography. thank you.

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