What Happened in 2009?

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Posted December 19, 2009

Norm  BoyerWe at ARIW regret to announce that Norm Boyer passed away on Wednesday, December 16, 2009.  Norm was a personal friend to both of us here at Among RI Wildflowers and we will miss him. He was a warm, friendly man with great sense of humor and a contagious laugh. Norm was a long time supporter of plant preservation, a charter member of RIWPS and a Plant Conservation Volunteer for New England Wild Flower Society. In the field, you could depend upon his sharp eyes to discover the hidden botanical treasures. He was an outstanding photographer and an early contributor to this website.  Some of his photos can be seen on our Oddities page.  

Our sincerest sympathy and condolences go out to
his wife, Bea, and his daughter, Susan.


Posted December 15, 2009 from DMcG

Smooth Sandwort in DecemberSmooth Sandwort in MayThe dead, brown stems in this photo are what’s left of some Smooth Sandwort (Minuartia groenlandica ssp. glabra).  Compare that photo to the better looking one taken in May.  On December 12th, I noted 9 new patches on state-owned conservation land in Charlestown.   

Earlier this year I had surveyed the two previously documented locations of this “regionally rare” plant.  I noted that they grow on sunny, exposed ledge in that area.  Its bright green stems and pretty, white flowers look out of place growing among the lichens on the dry rocks. 

Looking at aerial photos, and even driving down the road, I could see several similar spots.  Nearly all of them had the plants.  Thirty locations have been found so far.

Even though it’s 27 degrees, there is still some good plant hunting to be done.


Posted December 8, 2009 from DMcG

Rock SpikemossIn response to your September 11 posting, I am submitting another finding for Selaginella rupestris.This patch is in North Smithfield growing in soil on a ledge of soft black rock.  The ledge is virtually encrusted with a variety of mosses and lichens.



Posted December 1, 2009 from DMcG

Hartford Climbing FernToday I stumbled upon some Hartford Ferns (Lygodium palmatum) in Burrillville.  It is a species of "concern" in our state. They were growing beside the floodplain of a small stream.  It was a nice, healthy patch of about a 1,000 plants.  I have seen several other populations and it seems to me this fern is always in the company of Pitch Pine, club mosses and Royal Fern.

Cuckoo-flowersCuckoo-fkower foliageIn early May I saw these pretty white Cuckoo flowers at the edge of the Blackstone River.  It was the first time I'd ever seen it and have not found any since.  I believe it to be Cardamine pratensis L. var. palustris.  It is not a listed plant. The Vascular Flora of Rhode Island describes it as native, but lacks a herbarium specimen or other formal documentation.  Thus, its status is undetermined.  I'd like to know if anyone has seen the plant elsewhere?

You can e-mail Doug at news@among-ri-wildflowers.org
and we'll forward it to him.


Posted November 14, 2009 from DMcG

Purple MilkweedPurple MilkweedWhile browsing some dry, sandy power lines in West Warwick I stumbled upon this milkweed.  I believe it to be Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens).  One of the keys is to examine the seed pods.  However, the pods were gone when I looked for them (deer?). The plant is listed as "state historical", 1906, from Washington county. Very Pretty.

Shallow Soil Rock HillLast winter I was drawn to some steep, rocky hills in the northeastern part of the state.  Some area had exposed granite, but elsewhere the rock seems to be covered with a layer of shallow soil.  The thin soil supported small trees, a few shrubs, with a lush layer of mosses, grasses and sedges. 


Hoary Mountain MintI noticed Hoary Mountain Mint(Pycnanthemum incanum).  Although I had never seen that before, it is not a listed plant. 



I followed up in the spring and found great things:

Palmate-leaved VioletThere were 100s of Palmate-leaved Violet (Viola palmate) , State Threatened. Photo left.




Small-flowered CrowfootThere were 100s of Small-flowered Crowfoot (Ranunculus micranthus) State Endangered. Photo right.




Early SaxifrageThere were perhaps 10,000 Early Saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis), State Concerned. .




Later in the year:

Pale CorydalisThere were also 100s of Pale Corydalis.






Large-leaved Aster

There were 1,000s of Large-leaved Aster (Eurybia macrophylla), State Concerned.




Slender GerardiaThere were 100s of Slender Gerardia (Agalinis tenuifolia), State Concerned.




Skunk Meadow-rueThere were a few Skunk/Purple Meadow-rue (Thalictrum revolutum), State Historical, but reported at multiple sites in the past few years.



Posted September 22, 2009 from kb

Upland BonesetDetail of Upland Boneset leafOn September 15, I found Eupatorium sessifolium (Upland Boneset) growing on The Monastery property in Cumberland. It looks similar to Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset), but the leaf does not surround the stem and the plant is smooth, not hairy. I spoke with both FRU and ABW and neither had seen the plant before, so if you have seen it in RI, e-mail us at among-ri-wildflowers.org.

And for those of you who might not be familiar with the The Monastery, it actually was once a monastery but was purchased by the Town of Cumberland for open space.

Posted September 11, 2009 from FRU

Rock SpikemossRock Spikemoss, Selaginella rupestris, is a low growing plant resembling moss or clubmoss.  It has no flowers, is gray-green in color, and bears spores. It grows in very harsh conditions on rock outcrops and dry ledges.I had never seen the plant until Tom Rawinski, a botanist with the US Forest Service told among-ri-wildflowers that he found it growing in Lincoln, RI and directed me to the site.  It is growing on a granite outcrop with Polygonum tenue (Slender or Pleat-leaf Knotweed) and Digitaria (crabgrass).

If anyone has seen this plant growing in RI please share your experience at among-ri-wildflowers.org.

Posted August 26 2009 from Tom Rawinski

Savoy HawkweedSavoy Hawkweed PlantAugust 20, 2009.I stopped for lunch at Everybody's Favorite Family Restaurant in Cumberland and across the street I noticed a stand of Savoy hawkweed (Hieracium sabaudum).  This invasive has become very common in eastern MA, and in the Portland area of ME.  A couple years ago I collected it in downtown Westerly, near the RR tracks.  It is often mistaken for our native H. kalmii.  But the inflorescence of H. sabaudum often begins halfway up the stem (as opposed to more terminally), and under high magnification the long hairs on the leaf surface have swollen bases. Later that day I also saw the plant in a grassy woodland not far from the dam at Lincoln Woods State.Park. It is quite conspicuous now and through September. I’d appreciate it, if any one seeing  this plant, would report it?

We'll be glad to pass on any reports that come in for Tom.— kb


Posted August 18, 2009 from DMcG

Humped BladderwortI was checking out some wet power lines in North Kingstown and Warwick for a little suburban botanizing.  In one area there were some very old tire tracks through deep muck.  Growing the muck and shallow water were some tiny Humped Bladderworts (State Concern).  It's hard to imagine that the plants find anything to eat under such conditions, but they seems to be doing fine.

White-fringed OrchidCardinal FlowerIn another area I came across a patch of White Fringed Orchids (State Threatened).  I was excited to find such a showy plant growing not far from where I have driven all my life.  Most of the plants were past peak and some past bloom, but I could still count 40 of them.  They were with an impressive stand of Cardinal Flower.

Scouring RushI spent some time on a water main ROW that ran along side the Blackstone River. It was disappointing to find it ran through an old landfill.  However, it also went through the woods and ran past a hillside seep.  The seep had a large population ofRough Horsetail, or scouring rush (State Concern).  Surprisingly, the hillside also had thousands of Bloodroot.  Of course, these were not blooming, but I have highhopes for next spring.

Posted August 16, 2009 from kb

Autumn Coral-rootAugust 7, 2009. Fran, Tom Rawinski and I were down in Burlingame Management Area in Charlestown and found Corallorhiza odontorhiza in bloom. This is the earliest sighting that we've ever had. Anyone got an earlier date?


Yellow Ladyslipper seed podOn August 12, I checked on the Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Yellow Ladyslipper) in Cumberland and it had set seed.



Posted August 11, 2009 from ABW in Portsmouth

I'm glad someone has spotted Platanthera psycodes this year. Two sites where we usually find them are devoid of leaves, stems and blooms. Has anyone else seen them in RI?

I have a site where I usually look for them and the same thing happened. Not only no blooms, but I didn't even see any plants. — kb

Posted August 1, 2009 from GP in Tiverton (Click on thumbnails for larger view)

MeadowWhen I first began inventorying plants in my meadow, one of the more exciting finds was the ragged-fringed orchis (Platanthera lacera) that appears in wet meadows. It's a little waif of a flower, "ragged" I guess. The best year had maybe seven of them, of which perhaps 4 were blooming. But, alas, they disappeared about 15 years ago.

Ragged-fringed OrchidYesterday, giving up on the weather drying out, I fired up the garden tractor for the mid-summer "haying." As I was slowly slogging through the wet grass my eye was caught by a greenish white flower just as I was about to mow over it. Holy cow! There it was, a survivor after all these years, probably reinvigorated by our record July rain. But there it was, kind of lonely all by itself.


Posted August 1, 2009 from DMcG (Click on thumbnails for larger view)

White-Fringed Orchid

White Fringed Orchids were blooming on power lines in Charlestown.




Canada LilyIn mid-July, Canada Lilies were blooming in a wet meadow in Glocester.


Wood LilyWhile exploring power lines in the Providence County, Wood Lilies were found in Cumberland, Lincoln and North Smithfield.


Small Purple-fringed OrchidIn late-July through early August, the Small Purple Fringed Orchids flower in wet areas. This year I found them along a muddy stream bank in Exeter, and in wet sphagnum bog in Cumberland.



Woodland SunflowerWhile driving down a dirt road in Foster, I noticed these Woodland Sunflowers growing in the dry, dusty edges.



Butterfly MilkweedsI was searching for a reported Canada Lily in an old, grassy field in Westerly. I did not find the lily, but my timing was right to see these orange Butterfly Milkweeds.

Grass PinkAerial photos of North Smithfield showed odd-colored wetlands adjacent to some sand barrens. One of the wet areas turned out to be a mat of Small Cranberry growing in what could be an old gravel pit. Several Grass Pink Orchids were blooming there in early July.

Ragged-fringed OrchidScituate has a park with a large wet meadow. Ragged Fringed Orchids were growing among the Spiked Lobelia and Racemed Milkwort.




Poke MilkweedI was checking up on some unusual looking milkweeds that I noted last year.  This spring they were blooming - with white flowers. The Poke Milkweed in the photo was of a patch on a roadside in Foster. I saw two other patches, in Glocester and Charlestown.

Posted June 12, 2009

Rose PogoniaFrom FRU, Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia) was in bloom in West Greenwich on 6/10/09. Pogonia is usually found toward the end of June, so this is an early sighting. Click on photo for a larger view.


Posted June 8, 2009

Arethusa or Dragon MouthJune  3, 2009 Arethusa bulbosa (Dragon Mouth or Swamp Pink Orchid) was in bloom. Click on photo for a larger view. FRU, NB and KB found not only the normal pink form, but also a white form (see Oddities page).


Posted May 25, 2009

Pitcher Plant budFrom kb, The Pitcher Plants at Nicholas Farm, Coventry should be in bloom in about a week.



Posted May 22, 2009

Yellow LadyslipperFrom kb, On May 11, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Yellow Ladyslipper) was doing well in Cumberland. It had 15 stalks. Click on photo for
a larger view.


Posted April 29, 2009

From FRU, Thalictrum thalictroides (Rue Anemone) in bloom at Buck Hill.

Posted April 15, 2009

From FRU, Marsh Marigold was in bloom at Snake Den.

Posted April 10, 2009

hepatica at LimetockHey, Gang, the Hepatica is in bloom at Limerock! Click on the photo for a larger and more complete photo. Photo and info compliments of FRU.


Posted September 2008

A new population of Platanthera flava var. herbiola (Tubercled Orchid) was found in Cumberland this past season. kb