August 23, 2020

Wildflowers of the NJ Pinelands - August Update

I have a small update since my last journal post in May. I was able to view all of the species on my May update with the exception of American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana). I was skeptical of seeing one, given its endangered status, but perhaps 2021 will be the year I add it to the list! Another species that evaded me was the coastal false asphodel (Triantha racemosa). I've been told only 5 populations exist within the barrens, and that each site is fairly difficult to get access. It also didn't help that my fieldwork schedule is most hectic during the window it blooms. It'll have to be added to the 2021 find list as well.

I spent much of June, July, and early August out in the Pinelands, adding many more species to the list than I had originally hoped for, as I set my sights on exploring the fringes of the Pinelands Reserve where the plant communities found are outside of what you'd find in the bogs, AWC swamps, and pine forests that make up the core of the reserve. That's because the NJ Pinelands National Reserve encompasses broad swaths of the coastal plain that include habitats like coastal dunes, sea-level fens, brackish marsh, and salt marsh. In these habitats I was able to observe species like the fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), marsh rose gentian (Sabatia dodecandra), annual sea purslane (Sesuvium maritimum), marsh rattlesnake master (Eryngium aquaticum), and wand loosestrife (Lythrum lineare). All of these finds had really opened my eyes to the diversity of the Reserve, that I truly hadn't appreciated until now.

I also was able to add a couple of the rare Platantheras to my orchid tally, including the southern yellow orchid (Platanthera integra), and Canby's bog-orchid (Platanthera x canbyi). Outside of these orchids, I've been able to see almost all of the Pinelands orchids with the exception of Loessel's (Liparis loeselii), spreading pogonia (Cleistes divaricata), and 3 of the rarer ladies-tresses (Spiranthes spp.)

It's that time of the year when all the goldenrods and asters begin to bloom, and they are some of the hardest to identify, so I'll be out taking photos of every yellow and purple flower I see (along with photos of their stems & leaves)!

My list for the final couple months of the growing season includes:
-Bluecurls (Trichostema spp)
-Fern-leaved false foxglove (Aureoleslaria pedicularia)
-Silverrod (Solidago bicolor)

Posted on August 23, 2020 21:23 by yan_tonz yan_tonz | 20 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 22, 2020

More Pinelands Species Added to the Life List

Since my last post I've been able to add quite a few new species to my Wildflowers of the NJ Pinelands check list, with the help of some fellow plant enthusiasts.

My current Pinelands wildflower count is up to 125 species!

Next up on the list is to try and capture the following species that bloom from mid-May to late-June:
-Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale)
-Slender blue flag (Iris prismatica)
-Yellow star-grass (Hypoxis hirsuta)
-Fly-poison (Amianthium muscautoxicum)
-American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana)
-Narrow-leaved sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)
-White-tubed colicroot (Aletris farinosa)
-Ragged fringed orchid (Platanthera lacera)

This list is going to be much more difficult to complete than previous lists, considering it contains state-threatened and endangered species, but the goal still stands!

Posted on May 22, 2020 21:09 by yan_tonz yan_tonz | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 08, 2020

Wildflowers of the New Jersey Pinelands

I figured this lockdown might be a good opportunity to create a journal entry about a quest I started back in May of 2018 when I moved to Galloway, NJ from the Boston here goes...

I was pretty unfamiliar with the southern half of the state and don't recall having ever visited it in the past. Galloway, NJ is located just outside the outer fringes of the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, but it's a 15 min drive before you're in characteristic-Pinelands habitat. This type of habitat wasn't particularly new to me. I had gotten a taste of pine barrens habitat, having lived near the coastal pine barrens of Massachusetts and North Carolina, but this time around I was really living in it..and desperately needed a new hobby (rock climbing wasn't going to be an option anymore out in middle-of-nowhere south Jersey .

I ventured out to my first location: the historic village of Batsto, hiked the sugar sand trails along the Batsto River, and took a peak in the souvenir shop, where I came upon the book "Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey" by Howard P. Boyd, and a list of 150 pine barrens wildflower species to find! Though short and sweet, the guide has really nice photos, good descriptions, and lists the wildflowers in order of time of bloom from March to November. It was perfect timing, as my mid-April arrival had matched well with the first Pinelands species beginning to bloom.

Quest initiated!

It's April 8, 2020, and I've managed to find ~105 of the aforementioned species, along with a few other unique, non-flowering species that are rare outside of the Pinelands like the curly grass fern (Schizaea pusilla).

I blazed through most of the easy to find species, explored several spots on all sides of the Pinelands, and it's getting to the point where I have to spend hours in the barrens before coming across something new. It also means scouring through the internets for any tips, clues, or historical records of species that are still on the list.

My most recent find, the southern twayblade (Neotia bifolia), was a particular challenge, as I had only a vague idea of where to find it, but ended up stumbling across it in a very backwoods section of the Pinelands that was a tough hike to get to.

I don't know how much of this quest I'll be able to complete by the time my job here ends its run, but it's been quite the journey. I've learned about each new species as I've come across it in the field, and gotten to experience the rich history of the Pine Barrens along the way.

Here's to hoping that the 2020 growing season won't be a complete bust, as I need to find a primrose-leaved violet and bird's foot violet before the close of the month.

Posted on April 08, 2020 23:30 by yan_tonz yan_tonz | 21 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment