Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Location for a Rare Plant

I was heading out to do some work on the property line fence yesterday, when I stumbled across a pair of Crested Coral-root Orchids, Hexalectris spicata, in full bloom.  The stumbling part was nearly a reality.  I was coming down a steep slope with a heavy cedar fence post balanced on my shoulder when I was forced to perform some fancy footwork to avoid stepping on this delicate plant.  The fence job had to wait for a while as I took time out to admire this lovely flower.

The exciting thing about the find was the fact that I had never before found this species growing in this location.  Finding new locations for rare plants is almost as exciting as finding a new species of rare plant.  The flower stalks are located near the lower half of a west facing slope on a steep limestone knob.  Click HERE for information about the Crested Coral-root and information on what I thought was the only location for the species at Blue Jay Barrens.

As on the other site, these flower stalks are emerging in the root zone of a Chinquapin Oak.  However, this oak is probably not over 40 years old, much younger than the trees at the other site.  This could mean that the plant is a fairly recent arrival to this spot.

Both stalks are quite tall and straight.  Deer love these plants and will eat the flower stalk right down to the ground.  I hope these last long enough to produce seeds.

Flower buds are still developing, meaning that the flowers will be around for another week or two.  Fortunately, I have several more days work to accomplish in that general area, so I should be able to enjoy these blooms as long as they last.


  1. Hi Steve.. Oh my goodness that is an amazing plant. I would have been so excited to see that too.
    Makes you wonder just what there is to be seen that goes noticed.
    Lets hope the deer don't find them. They are bugger, and eat the strangest things!

    Good luck with them


  2. Hi, Grace. I'm sure there are plenty of things that we fail to notice. That just leaves more things for us to be amazed at in the future when they do come to our attention.