Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quick Report on the Collecting Trip to the Carolinas

I am sorry; this will be quick and dirty. Fern Valley staff is on a collecting trip to North and South Carolina and we have one target species: Shortia galacifolia. That's putting all your egge in one basket. Three people for five days to collect one species. And we didn't know where to go when we got there. I can't begin to describe how cooperative people have been in both states. We started in South Carolina and but wow it has been great so far. We were shown lots of Shortia. Shortia is a rare plant but we saw large stands of it and if our collecting had ended after Monday, the trip would have been a success thanks to South Carolina. We saw other fascinating species, including Turkey Beard, Xerophyllum asphodelioides, a fascinating member of the Melianthaceae.

The size of the trees is impressive. The diameters are large, but in the coves, the trees grow to heights that would be unheard of around Washington. My last post featured a picture of Magnolia tripetala, and I am hoping to see it, but haven't so far. We have seen hundred of Magnolia fraseri, which has comparably sized leaves but with slightly different leaf bases. After looling for two days, we finally found one tree in Panthertown Valley with flowers. We also saw a stand of Pink Lady's Slippers with over 300 flowers. Wow. Location secret, but pictures to come. We have done some extra collecting; we have aat east a half dozen nice species with two days to go.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we are going in to Gorges State Park accompanied by Park staff to collect from a new location. Got to get to bed and rest. Today was tough. More later!