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Plant hidden in Vermont for 108 years rediscovered thanks to botanist’s keen eye

todayJune 1, 2024 2

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ADDISON COUNTY, Vt. – Never in over a century has a botanist in Vermont seen a tiny floodplain herb until now.It’s all thanks to the keen eyesight of the state’s newest plant scientist, Grace Glynn, who had been on the hunt for the false mermaid-weed (Floerkea proserpinacoides) since starting her job about a year ago, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said. The last discovery was recorded in 1916.USDA UPDATES ITS 2024 PLANT HARDINESS MAP: FIND OUT WHAT PLANTING ZONE YOU LIVE INEarlier this spring, the agency said Glynn’s hard work and dedication paid off when she noticed a small sprig of the elusive plant in the background of a photo of another rare plant sent in by a colleague.Glynn quickly visited the site and confirmed the presence of false mermaid-weed on private streamside land in Addison County. After a subsequent visit, she was able to locate more of the rare plant species on public conservation land just downstream of the original site. OHIO STRAWBERRY FARMER LOST HALF OF SPRING CROP AS BERRIES ‘MELTED IN THE RAIN’ AMID WEATHER HEADACHES”As you can see from our photos, individual false mermaid-weed plants are absolutely tiny, with flowers as small as the head of a pin,” the agency said.Despite its small size, botanists say false mermaid-weed can form a thick ground cover in the appropriate habitat from early spring until the ferns emerge and shade it out in late May and early June. Making them even harder to find, false mermaid-weed is both a spring ephemeral and an annual, Vermont Fish & Wildlife said.Vermont Fish & Wildlife say a big importance of this discovery has to do with where it was rediscovered. “False mermaid-weed is a floodplain plant, and historic populations are believed to have been destroyed by some common challenges facing Vermont’s floodplains: extreme floods, invasive species, and development,” the agency notes.DROUGHT SHUTTERED TEXAS’ LAST SUGAR MILL. NOW, FARMERS ARE ASKING WHICH CROP IS NEXT?The recently rediscovered population of false mermaid-weed has been able to thrive in high-quality habitats on both private and protected land for 108 years. This shows that responsible landowners and conservation organizations can truly make a positive impact.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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