Final visit to the shale barrens

My internship has concluded and it was a very good experience.  I had to leave earlier than I expected, which meant I didn’t get to visit every place in the park I wanted to, but things happen.  Perhaps I will visit again.  I found over 20 new populations of state-listed plants in the canal including 4 entirely new rare species.  I also found a population of Ptilimnium nodosum (Harperella) which is a federally-endangered plant.  Check out my previous entry for more details on that find.

I learned a lot about managing a large database of rare plants.  The amount of rare plant records for this park meant that I couldn’t possibly survey for all of them in one field season.  One challenge was prioritizing which plants to survey for.  I gravitated towards the shale barren habitats within the park.  I found these to be the most interesting to survey.

My last trip into the field was to survey a shale barren habitat.  I found a new population of the globally-vulnerable (G3) Trifolium virginicum.  This is one of the discoveries I was most excited about.  I can’t quite explain it but I really enjoy seeing this plant.  On this field trip I found a population with newly established clumps and one clump that had seedlings sprouting.  I was pretty excited when I saw this and considered it a fitting end to my internship experience at the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park.


Trifolium virginicum. One clump of a new population I found on my last day of field surveying.












This picture shows the habit of the seed heads to hang down around the base of the plants. They blend in very well with the shale talus.



This is a closer view of the seed heads. If you look closely you can see the seedlings sprouting.


Coleman Minney

Field Botany Intern

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

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