Two months ago I wrote about finding only a single cranefly orchid, despite seeing dozens the year before. After posting that I asked a few experts; the consensus was that deer browse had caused the disappearance.
One day last week I was poking about looking for asters and goldenrods that may have started blooming after the recent rains. I didn’t find many, but I did find this:
Zoom in and look closely. In the center of the picture is a purplish leaf partly unfurled among all the fallen tree leaves. That’s a new leaf of cranefly. There were more, but I didn’t get close, for fear of trampling something (this picture was taken from pretty far away), and quickly withdrew, as there were people about and I didn’t want anyone taking an interest in my interest. There are poachers in this area.
This year there were no flowering stems in this stand. Clearly the plants are growing again, but how many seasons of abuse can they take? I’m considering contacting the park service and asking them to put fencing around this little patch. It’s an area that sees lots of human activity as well as deer pressure, but I wonder if drawing attention to this patch may do more harm than good.
Feeling hopeful after finding the cranefly, I went over to the place where I saw puttyroot last year, and this:
Yes, two new puttyroot leaves. Again, that’s a zoom-in from a distance. Last thing I want is to cause damage in my enthusiasm. I can admire from afar.