Elk Rapids Almanac is a collection of postings by Green Elk Rapids committee members and friends celebrating nature and the seasons. Contributions from the community are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Elk Rapids Almanac
By Angie Lucas, GTRLC
The coastal habitats along the Great Lakes have their own unique plants and animals which have adapted to these special environments. One plant species, called "Lake Huron Tansy" (LHT) or Tanacetum bipinnatum, is a rare State listed Threatened species which grows best on beaches and dunes along the Great Lakes shoreline and can tolerate the extreme conditions found here.
LHT is a northern plant, and Grand Traverse and Leelanau County are as far south as it grows. When it flowers, LHT has beautiful deep yellow-orange button shaped flowers, but flowering is rare, and when not in bloom, it can be hard to distinguish the leaves from non-native Common Tansy and Yarrow. This year, LHT was flowering at Maple Bay Natural Area where it grows along the lakeshore and forest edge.
LHT grows by rhizomes, and although it is a species of active dune and shorelines and requires some sand movement, it needs just the right amount of sand disturbance. Too much disturbance from foot traffic is detrimental to this species and if non-native aggressive tree species like Lombardy Poplar take hold and speed up dune stabilization, the habitat requirements for this and other dune specific plants can be jeopardized.
GTRLC has been working for over 5 years with volunteers on invasive plant removal to help ensure that Lake Huron tansy and other unique and threatened dune species thrive in protected areas along Grand Traverse Bay.
LHT was a favorite species of the renowned University of Michigan botanist, Edward Voss, and it graced the cover of Michigan Flora.