The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Turkeybeard Blooms in the Shenandoah National Park

Image by, Norm Bourg

A rare patch of Turkeybeard or mountain asphodel (Xerophyllum asphodeloides) was found blooming on May 17, 2005 in the Shenandoah National Park at the bottom reaches of the Wildcat Ridge Trail. This patch is in its second year of blooming after a fire burned in the area 3 years ago.

Very few turkeybeards bloom in a given year. But the forest floors of two Virginia sites, George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park, are covered with more than 25,000 of the plants. They have produced thousands of pompom-like blossoms of about 200 small flowers atop stalks 1.5 meters (4.5 feet) high. At least one impressive plant produced 27 stalks.

It is a state-listed endangered or vulnerable species in portions of its Appalachian range and is included in the U.S. Center for Plant Conservation's National Collection of Endangered Plants.

See this July 1, 2002 National Geographic story about this unusual event.

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