Wetlands have their own special suite of species. The Bur Reeds, Marsh Marigolds, Cattails, Marsh Rose-mallow and Buttonbush are all plants you might expect to find in an emergent marsh or buttonbush swamp. None of these plants will be found on a dry hillside, or rocky embankment. They are obligate wetland species, and require water: lots of it. Another wetland species, Swamp Loosestrife, Decodon verticillatus is often a major contributor to the bog mat that builds over time in these wetland areas.
Decodon is Greek for “Ten tooth” and verticillatus refers to the whorls of flowers. This is another member of the Lythrum family, but this loosestrife is a welcome member of the Cattail club (if there were such a thing ). A very large, 1- 9’ tall, plant growing on the edge of one of Lake Erie marshes, it is a native Ohio species with robust magenta flowers that cluster in whorls. The stem is some-what woody and tends to bend and re-root where it touches the ground. It makes large mats of growth on swamp margins.
Ohio wetlands have been declining and most statistics say we have lost 90% of the areas that were wetlands pre-settlement. Fortunately, there are a few great organizations that are trying to set aside wetlands for the future. Purchasing Federal Duck Stamps are one way to support efforts to conserve wetlands and Greater Mohican Audubon has joined the ranks of groups purchasing wetlands for our future. Wetlands are not only beneficial for ducks, wading birds and all sorts of water-related fauna; they host some very nifty flora too.