I have found that one of the more interesting things about the Butterfly Ridge project was something I wasn't expecting. Sure, I was expecting to grow the butterfly population by increasing the quantity of host and nectar plants available on the site. But one of the enjoyable side effects of creating butterfly habitat is to see which plants come up on their own within the clearings we are creating in the forest.
One of the more interesting discoveries that we made in the clearing that we created last year has been Platanthera clavellata or the Club-spur Orchid. Supposedly this is a relatively common wetland orchid. Problem is, our site where it is growing is no more of a wetland than a slab of asphalt. We have several of this wonderful little orchids coming up in an upland site that is not even remotely wet.
Another wonderful surprise that has come up in the clearing is Sabatia angularis, Rose Pink. I remember this one from years ago, back in the day when the clearing was a clearing, before my dad let the woods take the space back.
What I find interesting is that the seeds and roots for these plants have lied dormant in the soil for a long time. The clearing where we are finding these gems had been completely covered by trees for at least six years, and most likely for several years before that. And after such a long time, given the right conditions and opportunities, they are able to bounce right back.
Sort of makes you think about the character traits of patience and persistence. I was reminded yesterday that Dr. Fred Urquhart of the University of Toronto had tagged monarch butterflies for forty years before he discovered where they were migrating to. These lovely flowers have waited how many years for their opportunity to be in the spotlight once again. It sort of reminds me that having to wait a few months for something isn't really all that bad, all things considered.