The Amateur Botanist by Francis UnderwoodThe Amateur Botanist

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Report on Finds for the 2008 Season
Photo credits: Francis Underwood
Scan of Thalictrum revolutum leaf: kb

I found a number of rare species in 2008, some of which were State Historical and others which had never been reported from RI before.  A few of these finds are introduced species.

Squarrose GoldenrodOne new discovery in 2008 was Solidago squarrosa Muhl., (Squarrose Goldenrod). This is apparently the first time that this species has been reported from RI . A very small population was found growing in a field in Burrilville on 9/3/08.

Cuckoo-flowerEquisetum fluviatile L., (Water Horsetail), Cardamine flexuosa With., (wavy bitter-cress), a “ rare introduction in New England” and Cardamine praetensis L., (Cuckoo-flower), were all found in a marsh in Lincoln, RI on 5/23/08. Special thanks to Betty Allen for showing me this site.

Eastern GrasswortWater PimpernelLilaeopsis chinensis (L.) Kuntze, (Eastern grasswort) and Samolus verlandi L. ssp. parviflorus (Raf.) Hulten, (Water Pimpernel), were found in Westerly on 5/30/08.  Lilaeopsis chinensis had been listed as SH  in RI and was rediscovered by the author in Providence on 6/19/2000. Both Lilaeopsis and Samolus grow along tidal rivers.

A large population of Leptochloa fusca ssp. fascicularis (Lam.) N. Snow, (Bearded Sprangletop), was found in East Providence on 7/17/08 in saline soil which holds temporary pools of rainwater. This population is about 1 mile south of a population previously found by the author on 9/10/06. The population found in 2008 consists of several thousand plants and is much larger and more extensive in area than the 2006 population.
Prior to 2006, this species was listed as SH and was last reported from RI in 1913 in a salt pond on Block Island. (Note; A specimen was submitted in 2006 for confirmation and official confirmation is pending. However, a verbal confirmation was obtained from a very knowledgeable source who agreed with the author’s identification).

Fogg's Goosefoot

Detail of Skunk Meadow-ruePossible Chenopodium foggii H.A. Wahl., (Fogg’s Goosefoot), was found in Cumberland on 6/23/08 in rich woods on a steep hillside growing with several other rare or unusual plants such as Thalictrum revolutum, (originally found in 5/30/05 which predates the find of Skunk Meadow-rue at Bioblitz in Westerly in 2008)), Hedeoma pulegioides , Saxifraga virginiensis, Woodsia obtusa and an unidentified species of Asplenium.

C. foggii is not included in either Flora of RI or Gil George’s Checklist.

(Note; T. revolutum was also found in Charlestown on 7/10/05, and Cumberland at Scott Brook on 7/20/05 also predating the find in Westerly at Bioblitz in 2008).

Possible Calamagrostis stricta ssp. inexpansa (Gray) C.W. Greene, (Neglected Reed-grass), was found in bloom in Exeter on the boggy edge of a brook on 7/6/08. Only one culm with inflorescence was observed. If this identification is confirmed it may be the first and only population in RI.

Two populations of Trichophorum planifolium (Spreng.) Palla, (Bashful Bulrush), were found on conservation land in Lincoln and Cumberland. (This species may warrant inclusion on the RI rare plant list.  It is the first time T. planifolium has been observed by the author).

Introduced Species found in 2008;

Japenese CloverA very large population of Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl. formerly Lespedza striata Thunb., (Japanese-clover), was found in East Providence, RI in a sandy-gravelly environment. (8/23/08)


Bulbous BluegrassPoa bulbosa L. ssp. vivipara (Koel.) Arcang.), (Bulbous Bluegrass), which is not listed in the Flora of RI (Gould and Enser), was found growing in a yard in Cranston, RI on 5/21/08.  How this plant came to be at that location is unknown.  It was not introduced by the landowner. Poa bulbosa is unusual in that it reproduces by florets which develop into bulblets.  According to Hitchcock’s Manual  of the Grasses of the U.S., any florets that may develop are apparently infertile.

Aira caryophyllea L.var caryophyllea, (Common Silver-hairgrass), was found in a field in Cranston. (6/1/08)
Aira praecox L., (Early Silver-hairgrass) was also found in Cranston. Neither of these is listed as growing in RI in either Flora of RI or in Gil George’s RI Plant Survey Checklist. (A. praecox had been previously found in Charlestown, RI by the author).

Readers who have observed any of the above species in RI are encouraged to send an email to us at