Searching for Downy Wood-mint
From Steve Young: I searched a powerline in southern Albany County today looking for plants of Blephilia ciliata, downy wood-mint, that were last seen there in 1998. This is only one of three locations in the state for this rare plant. The area was on dry limestone outcrops, good habitat for Blephilia. The photo below from the Missouri State Univ. herbarium shows what it looks like:
After searching for about 30 minutes I didn’t see any plants but I did see some mint family plants and some other interesting plants. Fortunately I didn’t see any ticks!
From the mint family there was wild basil (Clinopodium vulgare) and majoram (Origanum vulgare).
New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) was mostly in fruit but a few flowering stalks remain.
Macoun’s cudweed (Pseudognaphalium macounii) was in flower, a plant that I rarely see in this area. In fact it is not recorded from the NYFA Atlas for Albany County. Its leaf bases are wide and extend down the stem a little ways.
Two interesting members of the aster family were still in flower, the smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laevis) with its shiny, smooth, leather-like leaves and field-thistle (Cirsium discolor) with some serious pollination going on.
I won’t give up on the downy wood-mint since it may not be there every year. I’ll check again next year a few weeks earlier. We wouldn’t want to lose one of our best populations in the state!