Take a look at the wild orchids of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens
Wild orchids, growing in New Jersey's wilds! The Pine Barrens are home to more than two dozen species of orchids that in many cases are easy to miss.
Ryan Rebozo studies the orchids and other wild blooms for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance as its director of conservation science. He says the wet, boggy swamps and grasslands are home to 29 different orchid species.
"When they are not flowering, it could be very easy to miss," he says.
These spectacular flowers have been around the Pine Barrens or Pinelands — South Jersey's forested coastal plain — for a very long time.
"When we are talking in geologic time, after this type of habitat was created, and some of these boggy and wetland areas were established, these were species that were colonized and are native to the area."
Snyder says orchids are one of those groups of plants that just attract everybody's attention, not only professional botanists, but everybody.
David Snyder, of New Jersey's Office of Natural Lands Management in the Department of Forestry, says one of the more spectacular orchids grows all over, the Pink Lady Slipper.
According to Rebozo, when they are not flowering, many of these species just have what we call "basal leaves," which are leaves at the base of the stem.
Rebozo says right now is a good time for the orchids in the Pinelands.
"Around this time of year, you can expect to see Arethusa and Rose Begonia flowering. As we move into July, we can get a few other species. Some of our yellow-fringed and white-fringed orchids will start flowering."
But the orchid's ability to hide under brush and the like may keep the tourists from making off with them. Rebozo says there is an area that is actually an observation platform-boardwalk which is built to protect them (the orchids), at Web's Mills bog. He says other places are on roadsides, which poses another threat "in terms of how we manage our roadsides and how mowing practices influence how successful these plants are, these flowering plants, if they are able to set seed or not."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.Cutter@townsquaremedia.com