Sunday, July 14, 2013

Plymouth Rose Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana)

Plymouth Rose Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana)


This morning, Sunday, July 14, 2013, I decided to get up early and go out and do some more damsel and dragonfly photography, before it got too warm.  Surprisingly at my usual location where there is normally a large number of the Odonata present, there were very few.  I decided to see what I could find along the shore of

Pocksha Pond, where there is also usually a large number of the Odonata.  Again, very few Odontas present.  But, what really caught my eye was just off the shore, a beautiful pinkish flower, all by itself.  Since I was wearing my water shoes, I waded in and photographed the flower.  After I downloaded the pictures, I utilize my field guides to try to find out what the flower was.  It turns out it is a member of the Gentian family, Plymouth Rose Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana).  In Massachusetts, it is a species of special concern.  Its distribution is unusual in that it is patchy, it occurs only in Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  There is a similar species that it occurs in brackish coastal marshes North to Connecticut and Long Island, the Large Marsh-pink.  The Plymouth Rose Gentian is found along Sandy to peaty shores of freshwater ponds on the coastal plain. The population densities and reproduction of this species are tightly tied to fluctuating water levels in these ponds, and as such, are affected by water quality and quantity in these ponds. Normally, there are large numbers of the Plymouth Rose Gentian, but I only found this one.  Populations of Sabatia kennedyana are at risk throughout its range, as humans increasingly encroach on these ponds, pollute their shores, and withdraw water.

Plymouth Rose Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana) Close-up of the flower