A daisy, is a daisy, is a daisy unless it happens to be a Lakeside daisy! Marblehead Peninsula in Ottawa County is home to the only naturally growing population of Lakeside daisies in the United States and one of only four known places worldwide.
Blooming just once a year, thousands of Lakeside daisies decorate their otherwise bleak, sun-baked landscape with a blanket of bright yellow blooms in early to mid-May.
A patch of dark green leaves form the base of the plant and support a stem that grows to an average of 15 inches in height. Like its heliotropic kin such as the sunflower the Lakeside daisy turns its yellow face skyward to follow the suns daily journey from east to west.
Ohioans can view this rare bloom at the 19-acre Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, acquired in 1988 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to protect the distinctive daisy and its habitat.
This is not a place youd expect to find a rare plant growing, said Stu Lewis, Chief of ODNRs Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Its a desolate, nondescript location exposed to intense heat, cold and wind, but the abandoned quarry land provides the perfect environment for this unique and hardy daisy.
The Lakeside daisy is the rarest of more than 200 plants currently listed as endangered in Ohio a distinction due to its limited distribution both in the state and throughout the world. A resilient perennial, the colorful daisy thrives amid limestone bedrock. The Lakeside daisys existence became threatened with increased limestone quarrying and destruction of prairie grasslands.
Lakeside Daisy State Nature preserve usually requires a permit to visit, but for one month each year ODNR opens the preserve, providing everyone an opportunity to view these rare daisies in bloom, said Lewis.
In celebration of the daisys annual splash of color, the public is invited to the Lakeside Daisy Open House on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Division naturalists will be on site to answer questions and provide information about the daisy and other interesting plants found at the preserve.
Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve is located on the east side of Alexander Pike (Township 142), 1/2 mile south of State Route 163 on the Marblehead Peninsula south of the Village of Marblehead. Additional information about visiting the nature preserve can be obtained by calling (419) 981-6319.
If daisies are in your future, consider visiting nearby Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio's newest state park. Marblehead Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, is one of Lake Erie's best-known and most-photographed landmarks. A beacon for boaters since 1822, the lighthouse grounds offer excellent picnicking and views of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, Kelleys Island and South Bass Island.