Sunday, July 26, 2009

Plymouth Gentian

Identifying Plymouth Gentian, Sabatia kennedyana, was days in the making. Like yesterday's Groundnut, this gentian is a native plant. It's also listed of "Special Concern" by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Here is their definition:

"Special concern" (SC) species are native species which have been documented by biological research or inventory to have suffered a decline that could threaten the species if allowed to continue unchecked, or which occur in such small numbers or with such restricted distribution or specialized habitat requirements that they could easily become threatened within Massachusetts.

Below are quotes from the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program fact sheet for this species.

Threats: Plymouth Gentian is threatened by any activity that changes the hydrologic regime, water, quality, or soil integrity of the coastal plain pond it inhabits. Region-wide, coastal plain ponds are imperiled due to shoreline development, water table drawdown (from wells), eutrophication (resulting from fertilizers and septic systems), and soil disturbance from heavy recreational use (ORV, horse, and foot traffic; camping; boat-launching; raking and digging).

Management recommendations: Management of Plymouth Gentian requires protection of the hydrology, water quality, and soil integrity of its habitat. Like many other coastal plain pondshore plant species, Plymouth Gentian requires pronounced water-level fluctuations, acidic, nutrient-poor water and substrate, and an open, exposed shoreline, free from major soil disturbance. The hydrologic regime is particularly important; coastal plain pondshore species often require low water years for reproduction, but their persistence at a site depends on high water years to keep dense woody vegetation from taking over the shoreline. Protection of Plymouth Gentian habitat may require exclusion of new wells and septic systems, prohibitions on fertilizer use, and restrictions on recreational use of the site. Recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and ORV use should be diverted from the plant population location by re-routing trails, installing fences, and providing alternative locations for the activities.

And here's a little video that I put together last evening. Movie making is a fascinating media that I'd love to explore.

Plymouth Gentian, Sabatia kennedyana. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife; Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. Web. Updated Jun 2007. Accessed 25 Jul 2009.


  1. This is a new one for me- it isn't even in any of my field guides! I impressed that you were able to ID it! Such a dainty little blossom.
    The video is fun- isn't choosing music difficult? Your choice works really well; hope you post more!
    ~ gretchen

  2. Thanks! :-) It took some time to track this one down. I stumbled across Sabatia and I couldn't have been more surprised! It then took a few hours to parse the genus. This was such a satisfying find. I'm wondering if I should notify the state? I'll probably send off an email inquiry.

    Curiously, a nearby lake is named Sabbatia. (Yep, two b's.)

    The music comes from Cinescore. Very cool--select genre and fine tune, set length, etc... All built in with Sony Vegas! Slick stuff!