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Wildflowers enrich Ram Island causeways

ANGELA VAN RYNBACH PHOTO | Horn poppies alongside the Ram Island causeway.

ANGELA VAN RYNBACH PHOTO | Horn poppies alongside the Ram Island causeway.

It has been an exceptional spring for the wildflowers on the Ram Island causeways.

The beach roses (Rosa rugosa), fragrant pink or white flowers with five petals, are thriving along the causeways. I am growing them in my seaside garden and on a still evening their fragrance fills the air. In the fall they produce colorful rose hips, rich in beach roses and provide food for wildlife. They are native to eastern Asia, to northeastern China and Japan. They grow up to 6 feet tall and are pest-free and hardy.

The prickly pear cacti (Opuntia), which spread out in open spaces, can be seen along the roadsides of First Causeway. They grow in this environment as small ferocious-looking plants, full of spines, but they produce delicate yellow flowers as large as the cactus itself.

They are native to the Americas and vary in height from 1 to 7 feet. Their fruit is edible, a staple food of Mexico and Central America. They are a protected endangered species and should not be cut when mowing.

The white oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) crowd on open spaces among shrubs and trees close to the beaches. They are perennials, native to Europe and temperate regions of Asia, and then introduced to North America.

The white yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is prolific, growing everywhere along the way in clusters or as single plants. You cannot miss the erect stems with green feathery leaves and their white flowers in flat-topped clusters. They are a perennial, native to Asia, Europe and North America. In antiquity they were known as “herbal militaris” for their use in stopping bleeding from wounds. I am growing this plant in my seaside garden.

The yellow horned poppies are beckoning over the dunes and the sandy beaches and grow in abundance on the Second Causeway. These poppies (Glaucium  flavum) are a sturdy, short plant with velvety blue-green foliage and poppy-like yellow flowers, native to the beaches of Great Britain. Although they blend beautifully against the blue water, all parts of the plant, unfortunately, are toxic.

I encourage you to take a walk or ride to enjoy the wildflowers in their natural environment, which we hope to preserve for future generations.