Whiteface Trip a Blast

by Steve Young, Adirondack Botanical Society

Literally, the group got blasted by the wind and fog at the start of the trip but in the end a good time was had by all. The trip started with an unplanned walk up the nature trail to the top since the elevator had broken the day before. This exposed us to the west side winds and fog which battered us all the way to the top.

IMG_1354The group was focused on the the interesting alpine plants and didn’t seem to mind the weather.

Whiteface nature trail

???????????????????????????????Here we could see plants like alpine goldenrod (Solidago leiocarpa)  that only grow at these altitudes.

As we reached the top of the mountain the cloud cover began to clear and we had some glimpses of the scenery below including Lake Placid and Lake Champlain. At the top we assembled for a group photo where blue was the color of the day!

Whiteface groupFrom left to right are Rebecca Wightman, Tom Wightman, Paul Tedesco, Connie Tedesco, Steve Young, Carol Gates, Jackie Donnelly, Steve Daniel, Michael Burgess,  Joan Zeller, Tom O’Donnell and Joanne Schlegel. Five other participants, Stephanie Sears, Susan O’Donnell, Dick Lighty, Sally Lighty, and Natalie Yaskow did not make it into the photo.

We saw most of the plants on the existing plant list and found out we need more work on the grasses there.

IMG_1363Here Carol and I examine a stand of Canada bluejoint grass, Calamagrostis canadensis. Below, Steve Daniel, Joanne Schlegel and I look at clumps of Bigelow’s sedge, Carex bigelowii, an alpine sedge with dark spikes that are in the process of dispersing their perigynia.

IMG_1360After a hike down the more protected hiking trail on the east side we paused for lunch and then walked back to the parking lot.  On the way back, Steve Daniel, Jackie Donnelly and I puzzled over this tiny plant growing on the wall of the parking lot in open sand near the elevator. I finally keyed it out to Sagina japonica, an exotic member of the pink family that had never been recorded for Essex county before.

Sagina japonicaOur day resulted in eight new species for the list!

Spinulum annotinum – bristly clubmoss – (originally recorded for the site under Lycopodium annotinum but years ago the ID here was changed to the high mountain species Spinulum canadense.  We determined that both species are here.)

Huperzia lucidula – shining clubmoss – seen in the krumholz along the hiking trail.

Melampyrum lineare – cow wheat – seen along the hiking trail.

Erysimum cheiranthoides – wormseed mustard – seen along the parking lot wall near the castle.

Sagina japonica – Japanese pearlwort

Ribes glandulosum – skunk currant – it was determined that the Ribes cynos0-bati on the existing list was mis-identified and the plants are actually this species. Along the nature trail and at the summit.

Viola pallens – smooth white violet – seen along the wall of the parking lot near the castle, with long runners.

Gallium mollugo – seen along the wall of the parking lot near the castle.

Thanks go to all the participants and their sharp eyes and botanical knowledge. We hope this will be an annual tradition in celebration of our unique alpine flora and the dedication of Ed Ketchledge in protecting it, especially here on Whiteface where he spent many hours cataloging the flora.

For another blog post on the trip, click this link to the Saratoga Woods and Waterways blog by Jackie Donnelly.

For an updated plant list for Whiteface CLICK HERE.

Adirondack Botanical Society Announces Their Field Trips for 2013

Click on the Field Trips page at the top of the page to see our list and details of field trips for 2013.  Field trips will include:

Algonquin Mountain – June 2
Hudson River Ice Meadows – July 14
Intervale Lowland Bioblitz – July 21
Whiteface Mountain – August 3
Slush Pond Bog – September 14

Sign up now before they fill up!

Spring ABS meeting April 20 in Keene Valley

The Spring meeting of the Adirondack Botanical Society will be Saturday April 20th from 10 am – Noon at The Nature Conservancy office in Keene Valley.

For more details, email AdkBotanicalSociety(at) or join our Google Group. To join the Google discussion group for the Adirondack Botanical Society send an email to adkbotsoc+subscribe(at) Write Join in the subject line. You can state why you would like to join in the body of the email.

2013 New York Flora Association Field Trip Schedule

The ABS 2013 Field Trip schedule will be posted soon – but in the mean time – we thought we would share the NY Flora field trip schedule here as well.

NY Flora Association 2013 Field Trips

The first trip of the season will be Sunday May 5th at Nelson Swamp. This trip will also be the Annual Meeting.

Trip details: 10 am – 3 pm. Rain or shine. We will meet near Nelson Swamp in Madison County and explore this beautiful white cedar swamp with Sara Scanga, assistant professor of biology at Utica College, and learn about her research on the rare spreading globeflower, Trollius laxus. After the field trip we will meet at Ed Frantz’s house in nearby Cazenovia for a delicious lunch, a business meeting, and some fun botanical challenges. Join us for a day of learning, lunch and leisure. To register for the event so we know how many to plan for and for field trip details, email Steve Young –  nisky912 [at] or call him at 518-588-8360.


Spreading globeflower. photo courtesy CT Botanical Society

A list of the rest of the field trips for the season can be downloaded here or you can find out more on the NY Flora Association’s website.

Winter 2012 ABS Meeting in Raybrook

winter mtg ABS

ABS outing in Raybrook on Sat Dec 1, 2012.

Last weekend ABS held a meeting at the APA office in Raybrook to recap 2012 activities and talk about ideas for 2013. ABS member Elizabeth Lee wrote a great article about the meeting for the Press Republican – check it out here.  


Mount Skylight Hike

Carol Gates and Julia Goren on the summit of Mount Skylight. photo courtesy Carol Gates.

ABS’ers Julia Goren and Carol Gates had a great hike to Mount Skylight on June 16th. They started the hike at 7:30 am and arrived at the summit about 12:30 pm.  They got back to the parking lot at 7:30 pm – it was an 18 mile round trip to almost 5,000 ft (4,926)!  They were looking for rare alpine species,including this one, Mountain Sandwort, Minuartia groenlandica. 

Mountain Sandwort. photo courtesy Carol Gates

On the Trail to Hooker’s Orchid

Hooker’s orchid. photo by Emily DeBolt

Hooker’s orchid (Platanthera hookeri) is endangered in NY. Only 2 known populations remain. NYNHP has more info about this species.

I was lucky enough to get to head out earlier this week to see one of the two locations – this one is in Warren Co. Despite the rain – I managed to get some photos.  There were a total of 4 plants in bloom.  3 in one group and 1 by itself a short distance away. We also saw some other lovely blooms along the trail on our way in, and had some amphibious company – which was very fitting due to the weather.  Here are a few photos from the trip. I hope you enjoy! (post by Emily DeBolt)

close up of the flowers of Hooker’s orchid. photo by Emily DeBolt

This little patch of twinflower along the trail (Linnaea borealis) was a nice surprise! photo by Emily DeBolt

Bazzania trilobata – a liverwort. There was a big clump growing along the trail. From a distance you might mistake it for just some more moss – but up close – it is anything but! photo by Emily DeBolt

We had good company on our rainy hike. The American toads seemed to be enjoying the weather. photo by Emily DeBolt

The red efts where enjoying the weather as well. We counted 21 – and managed to not step on any! photo by Emily DeBolt

These pink lady slippers were staying dry under the pines. photo by Emily DeBolt

Indian cucumber root flowers on a second tier of leaves. photo by Emily DeBolt

I just never get tired of photographing bunchberry – they are just so pretty- And they make a great groundcover for the home landscape as well! photo by Emily DeBolt

Spring Pond Bog Trip

The second largest open expanse of peatland in New York, Spring Pond Bog Preserve provides a unique habitat for plants and animals found nowhere else in the state.  It contains a patterned peatland with ridges (strings) and wet depressions (flarks).

Thanks to ABSers Carol Gates, Emily Tyner & Dave, Lem & Anita Hegwood and Lisa Albrecht for sharing their plant list from their trip on May 19th to Spring Pond Bog.

Additional Plants to add to the List for Spring Pond Bog
NYFA 2003

2012 Field Trip Schedule

The Adirondack Botanical Society is pleased to announce its list of summer 2012 field trips. These trips are for everyone from interested enthusiasts to professional botanists. Contact information for each trip leader is below so please contact them before the trip. Some trips might have a size limit.

Click here to view the field trip schedule.

Watch Michael Kudish’s Talk on ADK First Growth Forests

Paul Smith’s College Prof. Emeritus Michael Kudish discusses Adirondack first growth forests in this April 2012 lecture on campus. The college’s School of Natural Resource Management and Ecology and the student chapter of the Society of American Foresters sponsored his lecture.  The talk runs 1hr 47 min.