Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great Plains Ladies' Tresses Disappearing

I went out yesterday evening and checked on the progress of the Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses. I hadn’t been back there for two weeks and I was hoping to find a few plants that were showing signs of producing seeds. I got part of my wish, because I only found a few plants. I could only see about a third the number of flower stalks that I saw two weeks ago.

All were showing some signs of wear. This flower stalk had just begun to bloom last time I was out. The blooming has progressed, but something has been doing some serious feeding on the flowers.

Something seems to have worked its way in and consumed all of the reproductive parts of the flower.

On other plants, the flowers seem to be fading in a manner consistent with the flower having been properly fertilized. All of the plants show signs of feeding damage. I looked things over closely, but couldn’t find any clues to what had done the feeding.

The biggest mystery was the complete disappearance of plants that I know were here on my last visit. I remember sitting down beside this spot and changing my camera batteries. When the camera was reset, I took a shot of an orchid growing right here.

I didn’t remember exactly where the plant was growing, so I dug out the shot I took two weeks ago to verify that I was looking at the right spot. No doubt about the spot and that’s definitely a Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses growing there.

I went back to the shot I took last night and zoomed in on the location of the orchid. All that’s left is a stump cut off at near ground level. I’m guessing this to be the work of a rabbit. I didn’t see any deer tracks in the area and a deer would have disturbed the surrounding plant residue in order to cut the plant off this close to the ground, so I don’t think they’re to blame this time. I’ve also seen rabbits do this same thing to too many bedding plants to think this isn’t some of their handiwork. There’s still a ways to go before any of the plants produce seed and I’m beginning to wonder if any will survive that long.

No comments:

Post a Comment