My efforts to expand the population of the Potato Dandelion, Krigia dandelion, at Blue Jay Barrens met with some success during the past year. This is one of the many bright yellow Krigia dandelion flowers that dotted the Blue Jay Barrens landscape this spring.
Last summer, my container raised Krigia tubers were introduced into a variety of habitats ranging from heavily wooded ridge top to…
… sunny barrens.
The combination of wind, rain and the foraging wild turkeys, tends to remove much of the leaf litter from the ridge top site. This allows the developing Krigia plants to receive adequate sunlight for the development of flowers. A check in early May, found these Krigia plants showing the promise of many blooms to come. This is one of several blocks of tubers that I planted. The orientation of the plants in rows is quite evident.
Things didn’t look so well a couple of weeks later. Krigia dandelion seems to be a favorite of many plant eating animals. In this case it was primarily the flower stalks and buds that were consumed. The plants still have enough leaf area remaining to fuel the production of new tubers to ensure the continuation of this group of plants into future years.
Tubers planted on the wooded slopes had to fight their way through thick leaf litter to reach the sunlight. Plants growing in these locations rarely produce flowers, but their population size continues to grow with the addition of new tubers.
Just to see how they would respond to a loose, organic soil, I planted a few tubers into the remains of a decomposed tree stump. The site is to the right of what’s left of the decomposing log in the photo.
Plenty of plants emerged. I’m certain that the area of the stump will soon be filled with Krigia tubers, but this is another of those sites that collects a thick deposit of leaf litter each fall, so I’m not expecting a lot of blooms to develop at this location.
I was most impressed by the performance of those Krigia that were planted into the gravelly barrens. Many of the plants produced blooms which persisted well into the seed development stage. Unfortunately, the flowers rarely produce any viable seed. It may be that Krigia dandelion is not self-fertile, and the original source of plant material at blue Jay barrens is a clonal colony.
The tubers planted into the barrens were randomly set in groups of two or three. They received plenty of sunlight and had little competition from other plants.
Some of the barrens plants did suffer from predation, but an equal number of plants remained untouched.
I’m even finding plants springing up that are not an intended part of my Krigia project. This group of two plants was found on the slope beside the barn. I am assuming it is resulting from the chipmunk or squirrel that dug tubers out of one of my containers and cached them for later consumption. I believe the Krigia redistribution project has been successful enough to ensure that Krigia dandelion will not be lost from Blue Jay Barrens should disaster befall the original population site.