3 July 2015 – The Quest to Find the Sundew on Schafer Farm

ABOVE PHOTO: A view of Schafer Lake with water lilies

(Click on the thumbnails below for full views.)

DSC01426The objective today was to find the Sundew that had been reported as occurring on the Schafer Farm section of the Refuge’s Central Tract. I had heard that it was next to a pond that I had not been to before. The species had been reported to be the Spoon-leaf Sundew (Drosera intermedia). I just had to check it out.

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After plugging the Sundew’s geo-coordinates that I received from Zach Cravens, a Refuge staff member, into my GPS, I set out for the location. The hike to the location took me in an eastward direction from the open field where I parked my jeep, along a small man-made lake, and then across a swampy area. The swampy area looked like a variant of a floodplain swamp. Cash Run, the outlet stream of Cash Lake, flows north through the swamp on its way to the Patuxent River. The area subject to flooding in heavy rains.

DSC01434As I emerged on the east side of the swamp floodplain, I noticed a fairly large pond and determined it must be the pond where the Sundew was reportedly located. I hiked around the south edge of the pond and encountered a boggy area that was full of various types of sedges and rushes as well as other types of plants one would expect to see in such a habitat. The area was slightly above the water level of the pond but the ground water was percolating up and flowed into the pond. This might be an interesting place to make a plant species inventory some time. I carefully scanned the area but did not see any Sundew.

DSC01436My hike continued along the east side of the pond and then to the north side. Although this side of the pond did not have groundwater percolating up, but there was sphagnum moss right next to the pond. BINGO, I spotted some Sundew. It was growing in several dense clusters at almost regular intervals some distance above the waterline. Sigh, it looked like Round-leaf Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), and not Drosera intermedia. The leaves were mostly wider than long, although some specimens had dried leaves from the previous year which appeared to be longer than wide. I can see how someone might confuse the two species. It is also possible that someone may have planted the Sundew here because it was occurring in pine needle litter, a place where one normally would not expect to see it, and because it occurred at regular intervals.

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In between the parking spot and the Sundew Pond I collected a few vouchers and took pictures, some of which you can see below.

 

 

Floodplain Swamp

Floodplain Swamp

Floodplain Swamp

Floodplain Swamp

Schafer Lake with water lilies

Schafer Lake with water lilies

Bartonia

Bartonia

Bartonia

Bartonia

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