How many of these plants, mosses, and fungi do you recognize?
How many of these plants, mosses, and fungi do you recognize?
From Kim Smith – NY Natural Heritage State Parks Botanist
This was an exciting year for botanical discoveries in New York state parks. Everyone heard about the federally-threatened Isotria medeoloides (small whorled pogonia) that turned up in Orange County in May. But there were eight more new state-rare plant populations documented in state parks this year.
Five of these species were found on Long Island, which was a focus area for the NYNHP state parks surveyed this year. Three of the species found are listed as state-endangered; these are Juncus brachycarpus (short-fruit rush, S1) at Montauk Point State Park, Bartonia paniculata ssp. paniculata (twining screwstem, S1) at Connetquot River State Park, and Polygonum aviculare ssp. buxiforme (Small’s knotweed, S1) at Hither Hills State Park. The discovery of another population of short-fruit rush is particularly exciting, as there is only one other extant population known in the state. The other two species found on Long Island are Eupatorium torreyanum (Torrey’s thoroughwort, S2) and Desmodium ciliare (hairy small-leaved tick-trefoil, S2S3), both found at Shadmoor State Park and listed as state-threatened.
Back up north, during additional surveys for Isotria medeoloides, a new population of the state-endangered Endodeca serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot, S2) was discovered at Highland Lakes State Park. At Taconic State Park, Symphyotrichum boreale (boreal aster, S2, threatened) was discovered, and at Chenango Valley State Park, a new population of Botrychium oneidense (blunt-lobe grape-fern, S2S3, endangered) was found.
All of these discoveries point to the need for continued survey efforts for rare plants throughout New York. It’s a big state and we still have a lot to learn!
Learn about the new apps being developed to track invasive species. The New York iMap program is developing one for New York.
From Steve Y0ung, NY Natural Heritage Program – This federally-threatened plant is known from Virginia north to Vermont. Learn more about it at the Center for Plant Conservation website HERE. In New York, there was only one historical collection, from the Putnam Mountain area in Washington County in northeastern New York, from September 1900, and it was listed as extirpated from the state. The location for the historical record has been searched numerous times but no plants have been found again. In recent years more populations of the bulrush were found in adjacent Vermont and in northern Pennsylvania in a county adjacent to New York. It was frustrating that we couldn’t find it in New York – it was so close by.
This year I received funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to look for it again in the Southern Tier of New York to see if there were populations extending north from Pennsylvania. On the second day of searching small wetlands in Steuben County, south of Corning, I finally found it. It was growing in a small (40 m diameter) vernal wetland at the top of a hill that I had identified as a place to search using topographic maps and Bing birds-eye-view aerial photos on the web. One month shy of the 110th anniversary of its last collection in New York, it was back in our flora. I spent two more days searching other wetlands in the county, and I have more days to search later in the month so I hope I can discover more populations. Dr. Rob Naczi from the NY Botanical Garden will also be searching areas near Vermont. Let’s hope he will find some in that area as well. Stay tuned to this blog . . .
Below are some of the photos from the population in Steuben County.
Botanist David Werier rediscovered this state endangered sedge in Chemung County this summer. It had not been seen in the state since a specimen was collected in 1966 in Rensselaer County and was listed as state historical by the New York Natural Heritage Program. This species is similar to Carex vulpinoidea and Carex alopecoidea and was collected fewer than 10 times before in New York – in the counties of Chemung, Herkimer, Oneida, Saratoga and Westchester. It may be overlooked because of its similarity to the previously mentioned species and a good description and photos of it with a comparison to those species can be found at the website for Illinois wildflowers. Click here to see the description. Congratulations David! – Steve Young
Luke Ormond found New York’s 9th population of the rare sea pink (Sabatia stellaris) in a salt marsh near Riverhead this week. This beautiful wildflower is only found on the east end of Long Island in New York and makes a good subject for photography. You can see his pictures of the plant on his beautiful blog of Wild Long Island by clicking HERE. Nice find Luke! – Steve Young
After the initial discovery this summer of Isotria medeoloides in Orange County, a follow-up survey was done this week and almost 100 more plants were counted. That is an encouraging sign that the plant is doing well and may be in other areas. The New York Natural Heritage Program is planning to evaluate and search additional habitat in Orange County to see if the orchid occurs anywhere else nearby.
Small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides), a federally threatened orchid, was discovered in Orange County, New York in late May by Kimberly Smith, a botanist for DEC’s New York Natural Heritage Program and the Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Kim spotted the orchid in a state park where she was performing botanical surveys for other rare plants. No one has seen this small orchid in New York since 1976 when botanist Mildred Faust photographed two flowers in a swamp in Onondaga County. Beaver have flooded that area since then and invasive plants have come in so the orchids are no longer there. The orchid is present in 17 other states in the Eastern United States and in Ontario but it is endangered or threatened in each one.
Botanists have spent decades looking for small whorled pogonia throughout New York where it had been collected only five times before 1976, from 1887 to 1923. Botanists collected it once in five different counties: Washington, Ulster, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk. Orange County is now added to the list of counties where it grows. Botanists for the New York Natural Heritage Program have rediscovered other rare plants that no one has seen in many decades, sometimes for over 100 years, but this discovery is especially important because it involves a globally rare and federally threatened orchid. Congratulations Kim! – Steve Young
It had been 25 long years since the state rare Dragon’s Mouth Orchid (Arethusa bulbosa) was seen on Long Island. Kim Smith, New York Natural Heritage Program State Parks Botanist was bushwacking through some wet thickets in a state park in Suffolk County when she spotted just one plant of this rare orchid. After further searching Kim did not turn up any additional plants. Now that we know they are still here we can intensify our efforts to locate more plants. Arethusa is an orchid that grows in medium to high pH wetlands and usually with sphagnum. It has been recorded from many upstate counties but wetland habitat loss has reduced its numbers. It is very hard to see when it is not in flower and may not come up every year which limits the time when searches can be performed. It sure is rewarding to find it however since it is one of our most beautiful orchids. – Steve Young
Steve Young at the NY Natural Heritage Program would like to know if you have seen nodding trillium lately. There is some discussion among NY botanists that it is becoming more rare in New York and may be in trouble. If you know of any populations of this trillium with nodding white flowers let Steve know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Historically it was known from many spots from Long Island, up the Hudson Valley and west to the Niagara Region, primarily along the limestone belts. See the map from the cards at the State Museum below.