It looks like summer has finally peaked here in New England! The latter half of July brought some brutally muggy days with the occasional downpour, but these have since yielded to mostly clear skies with temperatures in the low 80s for early August. The plants are responding well to the recent good weather, and our endeavors are finally beginning to bear fruit, which have to date comprised 15 collections; of these, nearly half are of the saltmarsh rush Juncus gerardii (which, unfortunately, has a tendency to play host to a parasitizing moth, Coleophora alticollela). The remaining eight collections include false beach heather Hudsonia tomentosa, the sedges Carex scoparia, Carex crinita, Scirpus atrovirens, and the delicious ericaceous shrubs Gaylussacia baccata and Vaccinium angustifolium x myrtilloides)
The moth Coleophora alticollela which parasitizes the seed heads of blackgrass (Juncus gerardii).
Naturally occurring lowbush x velvet blueberry hybrid (Vaccinium angustifolium x myrtilloides), Wapack NWR, New Hampshire
Over the course of our collections thus far, we have voyaged as far north as Waterville, ME, to scout out the maturity of seeds borne by black spruce (Picea maritima) and purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) in kettlehole bogs, east to Harwich Port on Cape Cod to collect Carex scoparia, and southwest to Stonington, CT to assess dam removal sites. As a result of our sojourns, we’ve gotten to see a wide variety of flora and habitats:
Sphagnum mat, Foster Point Bog, Belgrade Lakes, ME
Red Spruce (Picea rubens) dominating the skyline on Monadnock Mountain, Wapack NWR, NH
Swamp rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), Long Pasture, Barnstable, MA
Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora), Bennett-Keenan Conservation Area, Lynnfield, MA
False beechdrops (Monotropa hypopitys), Bennett-Keenan Conservation Area, Lynnfield, MA
In addition, we have also seen quite a variety of wildlife too!
Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), Bennett-Keenan Conservation Area, Lynnfield, MA
Nova Scotian Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele novaescotiae), Belgrade Lakes, ME
Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on buttonbush (Cephalanthes occidentalis), Bennett-Keenan Conservation Area, Lynnfield, MA
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus carolinensis), Harwich, MA