New native plant species discovered in Ohio in 2021

curved tortilla moss
Botanists found curved tortilla moss, which was presumed to be extirpated, in Ottawa County, Ohio, in 2021. (Submitted photo)

COLUMBUS — The number of native plant species in Ohio grew by five in 2021. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Natural Area and Preserves had great success locating the state’s rarest plants last year. 

Botanists found several new native plant species in Ohio, including Dodge’s hawthorn (crataegus dodgei) in Portage County, hairy lip fern in Lawrence County, lovely shadbush (amelanchier amabilis) in Cuyahoga County, Provancher’s fleabane (erigeron philadelphicus var. provancheri) in Ottawa County, and yellowish-white bladderwort (utricularia ochroleuca) in Clark and Champaign counties. 

hairy lip fern
Ohio botanists found hairy lip fern, a new native plant, in Lawrence County in 2021. (Submitted photo)

“Finding new species and populations of rare plants is not only rewarding for the discoverers and exciting for the botanical community, it is critically important for their protection,” ODNR Chief Botanist Rick Gardner said. “It gives us the opportunity to survey, monitor and target efforts to protect them and ensures a more accurate understanding of the species’ status as a whole.” 

In addition to the new native plants, botanists found one presumed extirpated plant in 2021, curved tortilla moss (tortella inclinata), in Ottawa County. It was last seen in the 1990s. 

Other notable finds included more than a dozen endangered species, such as Coville’s scorpion-weed (phacelia colvillei), small-flowered scorpion-weed (phacelia dubia), primrose-leaved violet (viola primulifolia), water-plantain spearwort (ranunculus ambigens) and little prickly sedge (carex echinata). 

These finds show that there are still important discoveries to be made throughout Ohio’s landscapes and natural communities.

lovely shadbush, or amelanchier amabilis
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources found lovely shadbush, or amelanchier amabilis, in Cuyahoga County last year. (Submitted photo)


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