These gorgeous sandstone cliffs buffering the Cuyahoga River provide habitat for one of the rarest of our plants, and I got to see it last weekend. This picturesque site is located within the city of Akron, and is owned by Metroparks, Serving Summit County. I really apppreciate Mike Johnson of Metroparks for expediting my visit, and his colleague Rob Curtis for guiding me in.
A member of the Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae, the monkshood gets its name from that oddly shaped upper corolla. This plant truly is a showstopper.
A busy highway skirts the upper edge of the gorge in which these monkshood grows, and salt runoff has had a negative impact. Herbivores such as White-tailed Deer tend to nip off the plants when given a chance, and invasive plants, particularly Small-flowered Willow-herb, Epilobium parviflorum, threaten to crowd out the monkshood.
I'm glad I got to see Northern Monkshood once again, and I'm grateful that Metroparks is protecting it.