On Saturday, Beth and I made our second visit of the year to Webb's Mill Bog (map) in Ocean County, right in the heart of the Pine Barrens. This bog is home to many rare plants including several species of orchids and representatives of most of NJ's carnivorous plants. The weather couldn't have been better for our trip.
After finding the slightly hidden entrance to the bog, we were quickly greeted with several species we had never seen before. Light-pink and dainty Rose Pogonia orchids were everywhere. Interspersed among them were Calopogon, or Grass-pink, with its groups of blush flowers with yellowish lips.
Calopogon, or Grass-pink
Hundreds of yellow flowers of various species speckled the landscape. Bladderworts (Utricularia) of several species poked through the surface on their threadlike stems. Bladderworts are one of the more unique species of plants (definitely read the link above). They use the bladder-like sacs on their roots to capture tiny zooplankton in a sort of lightning-fast gulping action.
I believe this is Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta)
Other yellow flowers present included Golden-crest (Lophiola aurea) with its fuzzy yellow flowers and fuzzy white buds.
Golden-crest - very fuzzy
The last yellow flower we saw was Bog Asphodel (Narthecium americanum), a NJ endemic species restricted to the Pine Barrens. Its bunch of yellow flowers with feathery centers rounded out the sprinkling of sunshine color in the bog.
Thread-leaved Sundews (Drosera filiformis) were also in bloom with their pink flowers. The other species of sundews did not appear to be blooming and seemed less numerous than on our last visit in May.
Here's the sundew with its flowers
In addition to the flora, there was one very interesting insect that Beth was able to photograph. Below is a photo of an Elfin Skimmer (Nannothemis bella), the smallest dragonfly in North America! This little guy is about an inch long, smaller than most damselflies. There were tons of them here.
For excellent reading about bog and swamp plants, check out John Eastman's The Book of Swamp and Bog: Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of the Eastern Freshwater Wetlands. We're hoping to go back to Webb's Mill a few more times this year to see what other blooming seasons will present. Thanks to my woman, Beth, for the photos!