Aug. 12, 2018

false pennyroyal, Trichostema brachiatum

Yesterday a couple of guys from Northern Michigan U and I did a tour of county sites. The last one we visited was the site for false pennyroyal, a state threatened species. These little blooms are barely an eigth inch across, very different than their blue curly relatives. This site is one of six reported in Michigan, first found there in 1986. It was a large marl bed with a thin cover of sandy soil. Since then invasive buckthorn shrubs have choked out a lot of the area, and a big chunk is now farmed. The farmer must use a huge amount of chemicals in this extremely basic soil. We found maybe a dozen false pennyroyal plants remaining in the southeast corner. At that point I had to call it a day. The guys from Northern kept poking around, and drove to the northwest side of the site, looking for another plant that had been found there. They didn't find that, but report that they found a larger area of surviving habitat with "thousands" of false pennyroyal plants. A very successful day! False pennyroyal grows in AL, AR, AZ, CT(S), FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA(E), MD, MI(T), MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ(E), NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, ON, and QC(L). Lenawee Co MI, 8/13/18.