Thursday, August 7, 2008

Flora and Fauna in Covington, VA

Goodyera pubescens, downy rattlesnake plantainThis past weekend we went to visit with family in Covington, VA. We spent most of a day at Roaring Run park, some of which found us skittering up the semi-billy-goat trail along the creek up to the falls. We saw lots of cool stuff! For example, this Goodyera pubescens. We saw several colonies of the little guys, some in bloom, some not. Isn't it just adorable? I was very excited to see them. They were growing mostly on the 'up' side of the path, 10 - 20 feet uphill of the water line in heavy leaf litter and deep shade. I'm also curious about the little thing living with it that has the lily pad shaped leaves. These also in some places had tall thin spikes with little white flowers.

Incidentally, I recently came across the website for the Connecticut Botanical Society. I'm already finding it a wonderful resource for identifying wildflowers and passive plant browsing.

Monotropa uniflora or Indian PipeWe were also fortunate enough to see several small patches of Monotropa uniflora, or Indian Pipe herb, a very rare parasitic plant. This wiki has a pretty good discussion of the species and its peculiarities. I understand the plant is used in herbal medicine, but I don't know for what, and given its rarity I would venture it isn't used very often. I have only ever seen this plant in the Covington area, and the last time I saw it was probably 20 years ago when my aunt first pointed it out to me.

We also saw a few colonies of this little lithophytic fern, assicated with nice moss colonies. I think it might be Pleopeltis polypodioides (Resurrection Fern), but I sort of remember the fronds on that species being thicker (adaxial to abaxial) than what we saw on this plant, so I'm not sure about the identification.

I would really like to know what this is but I'm not even sure where to start - fern, mossy thing, flowering plant? I saw several individual colonies, generally round in shape, hugging bare rock no more than 1 or 2 feet above water level in areas where they would get frequent spray and possibly occasional flooding. The tissue was very crocodilian in texture and each fish tail was perhaps an inch wide. Please leave a comment if you know what this is!

....I don't know what these are either. Left is a little creeping plant with leaves about 2-3 inches long, very leathery, and fairly spaced out on the rhizome. They were in the standard leaf litter or on somewhat bare clay, like this one. It looks fern-ish to me. On the right is a small, glossy plant with architectural trefoil leaves. Diameter of each leaf was approximately equal to a standard peanut butter cup. I only saw one of these.

Cool bugs!!

Cool fungus!

"Bob Ross Moment" Finale

1 comment:

swamprad said...

I am pretty much blown away by this entry. The Goodyera was cool enough, but the Indian Pipe herb is just out of this world. I will have to ask my wildflower guru friend if he knows about this one. All of the plants you photographed were exceedingly cool.

I should get out more!!