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The Flora of Beavers' Meadow, Barbour County, West Virginia, Revisited after a Quarter Century
- Gregg, Katharine B., Klotz, Larry H.
- Castanea 2015 v.80 no.2 pp. 130-143
- Andropogon, Athyrium filix-femina, Calopogon, Castoridae, Platanthera ciliaris, Pycnanthemum, Rhynchospora, Spiranthes, Xyris, anthropogenic activities, flora, hydrology, inventories, meadows, mowing, nutrient content, West Virginia
- Since the early 1980s, Beavers' Meadow in Barbour County, West Virginia, has been well known for large populations of the orchids Cleistes bifaria and Platanthera ciliaris. Seven taxa of special concern in West Virginia were present at that time: Andropogon glomeratus var. glomeratus, Athyrium filix-femina subsp. angustum, C. bifaria, Rhynchospora recognita, Sericocarpus linifolius, Scleria triglomerata, and Xyris torta. We present a description of the 7.4-ha meadow today, an inventory of its species, and some comparisons to the flora as it was reported 26 years ago. Collections were first made in June 2007; parallel transects approximately every 3–5 m were walked once each in May and June 2009, twice monthly in July through September 2009, and once each in May and June 2010. Additional specimens were collected in 2011, 2013, and 2014. We identified 320 vascular plant taxa in 192 genera and 67 families. The taxon list includes 31 county records and one state record, Scleria verticillata. All seven species of concern documented 26 years ago were observed between 2007 and 2014. Three additional state-rare species were found: Calopogon tuberosus var. tuberosus, Pycnanthemum torrei, and Spiranthes lucida. Exotic taxa numbered 65, making up 20.3% of the flora. Establishment and maintenance of the diverse flora has probably been promoted by hydrologic gradients, low nutrient levels, and various anthropogenic activities, including annual rotary mowing that took place from the 1950s through 2003 and resumed in 2009.