I checked my email this morning and somebody I don't know sent me an email and the title read "
E-mail-A-Friend: Unusual plant found at Jones...*"
First thing I thought of was Jones Lake, a State Park that I use to swim at when I was a kid. I opened the email and he said "Thought you might get a kick out of this fellow plant lover." and there was a link to The Bladen Journal, That's a news paper in Elizabethtown, NC, 5 miles away from Jones Lake. So I knew then it had to be Jones Lake. I opened it and here's the story.
Rare plant discovered at Jones Lake Intern Justin Barnes and Jones Lake State Park Superintendent Greg Schneider recently discovered a small patch of threadleaf sundews in a utility right-of-way at the park. The plants only thrive in burned over areas, and continued maintenance of the right-of-way, along with a recent controlled burn, replicated the conditions the plants enjoyed before logging started and wildfires brought under control.
Unusual plant found at Jones Lake
By JEFFERSON WEAVER Staff Writer
A giant carnivorous plant lurks in the bogs of Jones Lake.
Compared to its relatives, Drosera filiformis, the threadleaf sundew, is a giant.
Most sundews are tiny, roughly the size of a fifty-cent piece and less than an inch in height. Filiformis, on the other hand, has tendrils several inches in height.
The sundews were found by Jones Lake State Park Superintendent Greg Schneider and Intern Justin Barnes. They found the plants recently while searching for a more famous carnivore, the Venus fly trap.
"Threadleafs glisten in sunlight," Schneider said. "That's what caught our eye immediately."
The smaller sundews are common, but threadleaf sundews have only been documented in a few areas of southeastern North Carolina in the past 25 years.
The plants thrive in the type of environment rarely seen in modern pine woodlands. Logging and a lack of major fires to clear out underbrush have eliminated most of the plant's habitat, although threadleafs can be found in some quantity farther south.
The recent find came in a boggy utility right-of-way where a recent controlled burn had cleared more underbrush. The right-of-way has been kept clean for years for maintenance crews.
The constant cleaning, the boggy soil, and the recent burn closely recreated the habitat common to southeastern North Carolina for centuries before logging operations began.
It's possible, Schneider said, that the threadleaf sundew plant's seed lay dormant for upwards of a quarter-century before the controlled burn and utility maintenance made conditions right for growth.
"Sundews thrive in a fire-friendly environment like we once had around here," Schneider said. "They tend to colonize areas most plants can handle, due to soil differences and a lack of nutrients."
Carnivorous plants don't need as many soil nutrients as others, so they can often be found in burnt-over areas like utility alleys.
In fact, Schneider and Barnes had trekked into the muddy utility meadow seeking other carnivorous plants that like burnt-over ground.
"We thought we'd find some more flytraps, or other species common to the bays," Schneider said. "We didn't expect a threadleaf sundew."
The pair didn't find any flytraps that day, but Schneider said other carnivorous plants, including bladderworts and yellow pitcher plants, are present in the area.
Sundews attract small ants and other bugs that crawl across the plant's surface. The insects are drawn by the dewy fluid secreted from the plant.
When the insect touches the hairy extensions on the plan's stems, the bug becomes stuck. The plant then curls its tendrils around the insect and begins secreting an enzyme that breaks down the unfortunate insect.
"A dwarf sundew can eat small ants or other tiny bugs," Schneider said. "This size plant is dangerous to larger ants and even some beetles."
Park officials hope area residents will report any findings of threadleaf sundews.
"This is a plant many botanists considered to be essentially gone," he said.
While the plant is considered "of special concern," by the federal government, Schneider said people finding the plants don't need to worry about reporting their finds.
"This isn't like a woodpecker," he said. "No one's going to come in and limit the uses of anyone's land over the threadleaf sundew. We just want to keep records of where the threadleaf can be found."
For more information on threadleaf sundews, contact the Jones Lake State Park at 588-4550.
Here's the link if you want to check it out.
I'm sure that you can tell I'm very excited. D.filiformis is native to South eastearn NC but they are very rare, and I have never seen one in the wild. I searched part of this area a couple of years ago for cp's. I found U.gibba and another unknown bladderwort. I found a small bog in a ditch that was about twenty feet long and about 4 feet wide. The only cp I found in it was some more u.gibba. *I can't wait to get back home and look for this plant. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]