Snow in the Thicket


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In late June we trekked back to Watson Preserve and the Big Thicket to see what might be blooming in early summer. I’d had word that the snowy orchids, Platanthera nivea, were blooming and they were a species I had not seen before. Chris says he had seem them but I wanted to get my own glimpse. They weren’t a disappointment!

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Found primarily across the coastal south and southeast, east Texas is their western most part of their range. Found within pitcher plant bogs, wet savannas and seeps, these are species you will only find in certain locations and of course being that these locations are increasingly scarce, the orchids are not always the easiest to find unless you know where to look. Thankfully Watson Preserve has this orchid and so many other species available to see that folks might not otherwise be able to find. As with so many orchids and rare plant species, location information is hard to get unless you know where to look, stumble across a plant, or have ties to someone who knows where to find a population.

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Pollination of the orchid appears to be by skipper butterflies according to the North American Orchid Conservation Center.

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I had hoped we’d make it back out to Watson again this summer but that wasn’t in the cards. Instead maybe we can make an early or mid-fall trip to see some fall blooming plants, though I’m not sure how it looks after Hurricane Laura. Thankfully they took a glancing hit instead of the direct hit that was possible so I suspect it won’t be terribly bad over there after a few weeks.

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