Exploring the Natural Treasures: Native Plants of Summit County, Northeast Ohio

In Summit County, our trails are graced by the beauty of native plants, inviting hikers from far and wide to explore our natural wonders. As residents of this charming region in Northeast Ohio, we’re lucky to call this diverse ecosystem our home. With every step we take, our eyes are greeted by vibrant colors of Cardinal Flowers and Ohio Spiderwort, while the delicate fragrance of Virginia Bluebells and Wild Geraniums fills the air. 

How many of these native plants have you found while exploring our parks?

1. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis):

One of the most striking plants found in Summit County is the Cardinal Flower. This perennial plant features vibrant scarlet-red blossoms that tower above the foliage, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Look for them near water sources like streams, wetlands, or shady areas.

2. Ohio Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis):

With its deep purple-blue flowers and long, grass-like leaves, the Ohio Spiderwort adds a splash of color to the county’s meadows and open spaces. Hikers are likely to come across this resilient native perennial, which thrives in sunny areas and blooms from late spring to early summer.

3. Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum):

Venture into the woodlands of Summit County, and you’ll discover the delicate beauty of the Wild Geranium. Its pale pink to lavender flowers and deeply lobed leaves make it an enchanting sight. These woodland perennials prefer partially shaded areas, often found near streams or in rich, moist soils.

4. Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum):

The mysterious Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a plant that adds intrigue to the forest floors of Summit County. Recognizable by its distinctive hooded spathe, this perennial herb produces clusters of greenish-yellow flowers. Hikers exploring shady, damp woodlands may be fortunate enough to spot this unique and fascinating native plant.

5. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica):

In early spring, the woodlands of Summit County burst into a sea of sky-blue hues as the Virginia Bluebells come into bloom. These ephemeral wildflowers create a captivating spectacle with their bell-shaped blossoms hanging in clusters. Seek them out in wooded areas with moist soils and partial shade.

6. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca):

Summit County is home to a variety of milkweed species, including the Common Milkweed. This herbaceous perennial boasts beautiful clusters of pinkish-purple flowers and serves as a vital food source for monarch butterflies. Keep an eye out for this plant along the county’s grasslands and prairies.

7. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta):

An iconic summer flower, the Black-Eyed Susan brings a burst of golden-yellow color to Summit County’s fields and meadows. With its dark brown center and daisy-like petals, this perennial wildflower attracts pollinators, making it a joy to encounter during hikes.

8. Showy Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense):

When hiking in Summit County’s woodlands and prairies, you might encounter the Showy Tick Trefoil. This legume plant features showy pink to purple flower spikes that attract bees and butterflies. Its long, slender seed pods curl up and attach to animals or hikers, giving it the name “Tick Trefoil.”

Remember, while exploring Summit County’s natural beauty, it is important to practice responsible hiking and conservation. Take care to leave no trace, stay on designated trails, and avoid damaging or removing any plants. Admire these native species in their natural habitats and let them continue to thrive for future generations to enjoy.

Photos: Adobe Stock