On April 12, Jason Ayers, Coastal Program biologist, was out in the field in northern Berkeley County with USFWS botanist April Punsalan, Partners Program biologist Bret Beasley, and FWS biologist Paula Sisson. April was searching for Schwalbea americana and the others were heading to the beautiful pond cypress savanna seen above. They had not made it 20 feet from the vehicle when, lo and behold, there was a brand new population of Oxypolis canbyii!
It is a very healthy population, 1000+ stems, and is already protected. They confirmed that is was O. canbyii by the stoloniferous rhizomes and the 5-9 rays per umbel character. Also, it had pinkish lower internodes. They will collect the fruit in the fall for seed safeguarding.
When the Recovery Plan was written in 1990, South Carolina had 15 extant O. canbyii populations. Now it has only five, one of which is this new one. Only four are protected, and only three (including this one) appear stable.
The site is actively managed with fire and has a long fire history. It is encouraging to find a new, healthy population in a site under active management, and raises the hope that there will be more new fire-managed sites to survey.
This is exciting news and commendable work by Jason and the rest of the team!