Journal archives for April 2020

April 08, 2020

Wildflowers of the New Jersey Pinelands

I figured this lockdown might be a good opportunity to create a journal entry about a quest I started back in May of 2018 when I moved to Galloway, NJ from the Boston suburbs..so here goes...

I was pretty unfamiliar with the southern half of the state and don't recall having ever visited it in the past. Galloway, NJ is located just outside the outer fringes of the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, but it's a 15 min drive before you're in characteristic-Pinelands habitat. This type of habitat wasn't particularly new to me. I had gotten a taste of pine barrens habitat, having lived near the coastal pine barrens of Massachusetts and North Carolina, but this time around I was really living in it..and desperately needed a new hobby (rock climbing wasn't going to be an option anymore out in middle-of-nowhere south Jersey .

I ventured out to my first location: the historic village of Batsto, hiked the sugar sand trails along the Batsto River, and took a peak in the souvenir shop, where I came upon the book "Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey" by Howard P. Boyd, and a list of 150 pine barrens wildflower species to find! Though short and sweet, the guide has really nice photos, good descriptions, and lists the wildflowers in order of time of bloom from March to November. It was perfect timing, as my mid-April arrival had matched well with the first Pinelands species beginning to bloom.

Quest initiated!

It's April 8, 2020, and I've managed to find ~105 of the aforementioned species, along with a few other unique, non-flowering species that are rare outside of the Pinelands like the curly grass fern (Schizaea pusilla).

I blazed through most of the easy to find species, explored several spots on all sides of the Pinelands, and it's getting to the point where I have to spend hours in the barrens before coming across something new. It also means scouring through the internets for any tips, clues, or historical records of species that are still on the list.

My most recent find, the southern twayblade (Neotia bifolia), was a particular challenge, as I had only a vague idea of where to find it, but ended up stumbling across it in a very backwoods section of the Pinelands that was a tough hike to get to.

I don't know how much of this quest I'll be able to complete by the time my job here ends its run, but it's been quite the journey. I've learned about each new species as I've come across it in the field, and gotten to experience the rich history of the Pine Barrens along the way.

Here's to hoping that the 2020 growing season won't be a complete bust, as I need to find a primrose-leaved violet and bird's foot violet before the close of the month.

Posted on April 08, 2020 11:30 PM by yan_tonz yan_tonz | 21 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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