Lady Slipper – Pinelands Plant of the Month

Although there are many different species of orchids in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Lady Slipper, (Cypridium acaule), is by far the largest and most spectacular. It a leafless stem bearing a large drooping magenta to pale pink slipper or moccasin-like flower between two large stem-less, parallel-veined basal leaves. Also known as Moccasin Flower,

Pokeweed – October “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Pokeweed, (Phylolacca Americana), is a common plant found in the Eastern part of North America, which has historically been used as both a food and a medicine by Native Americans and early settlers. Although considered a noxious weed by farmers, it is now sometimes used as an ornamental. In the fall, the plant appears to

Common Dogbane – August “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Common Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), also known as Indian Hemp, is a perennial herb superficially similar in looks to Milkweed. It is recognized by clusters of small, bell-shaped white to pink flowers, milky sap (seen when the stem is broken) and long seed pods. Plants usually grow two feet to three feet in height, but they

Lichen – December “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Lichens, seen frequently in the Pine Barrens, are composite, symbiotic organisms. They are made up of members of two to three different kinds of organisms: fungi, algae and/or cyanobacteria (bacteria with chlorophyll). Each colony is a relatively self-contained miniature ecosystem where additional random microorganisms can also be found. The dominant partner is the fungus. Since

Viburnum – November “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Viburnums are a genus of shrubs in the Honeysuckle family (Adoxaceae) whose opposite rather than alternate leaves is one of their most identifying features. This characteristic is seen in all members of the Honeysuckle family. We have two shrubs that are native to the Pine Barrens, the Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) and the Wild Raisin or Witherod

The Spectacular Swamp Pink

One of the most spectacular Pinelands flowers, if you are lucky enough to find one, is the Swamp Pink, (Helonias Bullata). This perennial evergreen herb is one of the more unusual members of the Lily family. The Swamp Pink is found only in the coastal states from New Jersey to Georgia. Throughout its range, it Read More…

Holly – October “Pinelands Plant of the Month”

Fall is here and the Hollies are sporting their bright-colored berries. Everyone is familiar with them because they are decorative and frequently used during the holidays. We are most familiar with the American Holly (Ilex opaca), a tree which can reach a height of 100 feet and has the familiar dark green, thick wavy leaves

Indian Pipe – September “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) a relative of the Heath family, is a unique plant because it contains no chlorophyll and, therefore, cannot make its own food. This rather un-plant-like characteristic results in it having to make a living as a saprophyte. This means that it lives on dead or decaying organic matter found in the

Sweet Pepper Bush – Another August “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Sweet Pepper Bush (Clethra alnifolia) is the last shrub to bloom each summer, in mid to late August. But it is certainly close to first place when it comes to fragrance. Its alluring and far-reaching scent can’t be ignored and attracts a plethora of birds, bees and butterflies. It is also a shirt-tail cousin of

Milkwort – July And August “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

The Milkwort (Polygalaceae) is a family of plants known for its milky sap and striking clover-like flowers. The first species to bloom in the Pine Barrens in the spring is the Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea) whose flower can be seen as early as June. The first time I saw one as a child, I actually

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