Helonias bullata count

On March 14, species lead Jim Fowler, along with SCPCA members David White and Frank Holleman, went out to Watson-Cooper Heritage Preserve to count the Helonias bullata on the site. Jim reports:

“Big, big thanks to David and Frank for taking time off to slog around the bogs with me counting plants. That made the job immeasurably easier for this first-time counter.

In order that the count must be easily replicated, and keeping in mind the nature of the plants in this population, I determined that we would count this year’s new rosettes and blooming stems. Counting separate plants is just not feasible or even possible at these sites.

To cut to the chase, here are the results:

First site, called the “Large Bog”:
2788 new rosettes and 89 flowering stems

Second site, called “Ben’s Bog”:
2070 new rosettes and 304 flowering stems

That gives a total of

4858 new rosettes and 393 flowering stems!!!

We did notice a good bit of herbivory on the flower stalks. Looks like it was deer, and I did see some deer tracks in the mud. We included the snipped flower stems in our count. I also noticed what appeared to be a small hog wallow nearby. Otherwise, the bogs appear to be in good shape. Maybe some removal of the aggressive dog hobble (Leucothe), especially at the “Large Bog” could be in their future.

There are 3 small, adjoining bogs about a mile or so away that we did not count. I’m hoping (hint, hint) that Austen will be able to work a count into her schedule soon so that we can get a complete count from the known sites up there. Those small bogs are separate from the two areas that we visited.”

A few days later, Austen Pickhardt and her crew made another trek through the woods and visited the original three discovery sites. Here are her counts:

Site: HB1 + HB2 (adjoining along same depression area):
Rosettes – 233 Flowering stems – 3

Site: HB3:
Rosettes – 59 Flowering stems – 2

That gives us the grand total for the population:
Rosettes – 5140 Flowering stems – 398

Here are some shots from their amazing adventure:

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