The Amateur Botanist by Francis UnderwoodThe Amateur Botanist

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Finds of the 2010 Season

All photos: © Francis R. Underwood 2010


Downy AgrimonyI found Downy Agrimony (Agrimonia pubescens in Cumberland, RI on 8/14/2010. This plant is listed as State Historical (1912) in “Rare Native Plants of RI.”

Downy Agrimony has long hairs and no glands on the stem and the undersides of the leaves feel velvety. The flowers have very short petals and are yellow in color just as the other two Agrimony species which grow in RI. The plants were found in rich woods of mixed deciduous trees.

The other two species of Agrimony which grow in RI are Common Agrimony (Agrimonia gryposepala), and Woodland Agrimony (Agrimonia striata).

Western Spotted CoralrootI found Western Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis) in Cumberland on 7/3/2010 in a rich wooded area. Western Spotted Coralroot blooms two or more weeks earlier than variety maculata.

It is the first documented occurrence of this variety in RI. With this find, Western Spotted Coralroot is now found in all six New England states.


RiverweedThreadfoot HabitatI found Thread-foot or Riverweed (Podostemum ceratophyllum) growing in rapids in the Moosup River in Coventry on 6/3/2010.

Podostemum was listed as State Historical until I found it with the help of Norm Boyer in the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick on 9/2/2004. I described to Norm the habitat in which it grew and he suggested a place where it might be found. It was growing right where Norm predicted! The last time it had been seen in RI was in 1890 despite searching by G. Crow et al in the 1980’s.

It has also been found at Nicholas Farm in Coventry in rapidly flowing water.

This plant looks like algae and grows attached to rocks in rapidly flowing rivers.

Hairy Stiff-leaved Panic-grassCulm and sheathHairy Stiff-leaved panic-grassHairy Stiff-leaved Panic-grass (Panicum rigidulum ssp.pubescens), a regionally rare grass, was found growing in a moist field in South Kingstown, RI near the Pettaquamscutt River. This grass has compressed or flattened stems (culms) and spikelets on short pedicels. It is generally found in moist meadows or pond edges.


Cross-leaved MilkwortCross-leaved Milkwort (Polygala cruciata) was found in the same location as the Panic Grass. It is listed as a species of concern in “Rare Native Plants of RI.”