Rare Plant Survey Finds

December 18, 2019

This field season was full of exciting botanical survey work across Ohio. In a typical year, we get a handful of floristic surveys, often Floristic Quality Assessments (FQA) or Vegetative Index of Biologic Integrity (VIBI) evaluations, used to categorize wetlands or better define plant community dynamics. In this banner year, nearly every day in late-June through July was packed with comprehensive ecological surveys, VIBI assessments, and Threatened & Endangered (T&E) plant surveys.

In June, Mark Dilley and Jenny Adkins returned to a site in Pickaway County known to contain the State-threatened Raven’s Foot Sedge (Carex crus-corvi). In 2017, MAD

RAVEN’S FOOT SEDGE (CAREX CRUS-CORVI).

located three of the targeted sedges within the survey area, and many more in a forested wetland nearby. This year they located an additional four sedges, suggesting that this population is stable and capable of reproducing. 

Also in June, Mark Dilley and Jenny Adkins led teams in search of T&E species at a site in Portage County, Ohio. They were proud to report a new record for the State threatened, Yellow Sedge (Carex flava), which was, metaphorically-speaking, a needle in a haystack! The wetland, which is slated for enhancement, was dominated by the invasive species hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca) and Common Reed (Phragmites australis), making transects incredibly difficult to traverse and general visibility low. Luckily the wetland is slated for enhancement, so this population may get room to grow!

In July, an 80+ acre survey along the Lake Erie coastline in Sandusky County awarded the MAD team with hundreds of the potentially-threatened Bebb’s Sedge (Carex bebbii), and thousands of encounters with adult Burrowing Mayflies (Hexagenia sp.)!

YELLOW SEDGE (CAREX FLAVA).

In July, an 80+ acre survey along the Lake Erie coastline in Sandusky County awarded the MAD team with hundreds of the potentially-threatened Bebb’s Sedge (Carex bebbii), and thousands of encounters with adult Burrowing Mayflies (Hexagenia sp.)!

American Highbush Cranberry ( Viburnum opulus  var.  americanum ).

AMERICAN HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY (VIBURNUM OPULUS VAR. AMERICANUM).

Another rare sedge find was the cryptic Timid Sedge (Carex timida), a close relative of the common Jame’s Sedge (Carex jamseii). Individuals of this species was observed in Montgomery County within a forested riparian community of a headwater stream to the Stillwater State Scenic River. The State threatened American Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) was also observed here. 

In September, during an informal survey along the Scioto River-Big Darby confluence, Mark happened upon the State potentially-threatened Burhead (Echinodorus berteroi) and Pale Umbrella Sedge (Cyperus acuminatus). Both are annual to short-lived perennial wetland plants that require regular disturbance to prevent overcrowding/shading from successional woody species. The Pale Umbrella Sedge has also been observed by Jenny for two growing seasons at the Seldom Seen Park wetland mitigation site in Powell, Ohio, and at a highly disturbed wetland site in Hamilton County.

AMERICAN HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY (VIBURNUM OPULUS VAR. AMERICANUM).
MAD INTERNS, KATE GORMAN AND BEN CLARK, GPS LOCATIONS FOR THE POTENTIALLY THREATENED BEBB’S SEDGE (CAREX BEBBII), NEAR SANDUSKY, OHIO.

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