Botany Blog Plants of the Northeastern U.S.

June 16, 2016

Pine Barrens in June

Filed under: North American Native Plants — admin @ 10:56

Made another visit to the NJ pine barrens yesterday. Two orchids were in abundance in the peatlands. All but one of our native orchids have flowers that are resupinate, which means that the pedicel of the flower twists 180 degrees as the flower opens. Grass pink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus) is not resupinate and therefore the lip petal, which on other orchids is on the bottom, is on the top. The lip of grass pink is also crested.


Rose pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) usually bears a single flower but I found one large plant that had an extra flower bud above the open flower.


The recent warm weather seems to have made up for a cool spring, so some plants that I did not expect to see flowering were in full bloom including the globally rare bog asphodel (Narthecium americanum).


Some goldencrest (Lophiola aurea) was also in bloom.


A number of carnivorous plants can be found in open peatlands of the pine barrens. This is likely the flower of striped bladderwort (Utricularia striata) as they were rather large, however humped bladderwort (U. gibba) is similar and occasionally has large flowers as well.


Slender blue iris (Iris prismatica) was occasional on the margins of streams. It resembles northern blue flag (I. versicolor) but has much narrower leaves.


Dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia bigeloviana) is apparently secure in NJ but rare in most other states. This one was found growing on an open sphagnum mat.


Swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum) was just coming into bloom. The flowers are very fragrant.


I normally wouldn’t take a picture of a common ribbon snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). On the way out of the swamp I found this one sunning in a shrub. Presumably it was doing this to get off the cold substrate of wet sphagnum.


Back on dry land we saw many Eastern turkeybeard (Xerophyllum asphodeloides) plants in bloom. The lower flowers of the inflorescence open first. Most plants were nearly done blooming and I was only able to find a few that still had unopened flowers at the top of the inflorescence.


Pine barrens stitchwort (Minuartia caroliniana) was abundant in the few open sandy areas but absent everywhere else.


While many people regard greenbriers as a nuisance, I was excited to find round-leaved greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia) in full bloom.


Some plants also had fruits of them.


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