Life in a Bog

Bog wetlands are pleasing, open landscapes with a colorful carpet of low growing plant life. A saturated spongy layer of sphagnum moss sinks and gurgles underfoot, hinting at the possibility of open water beneath (and insuring that a photographer, like the sphagnum, will end up saturated and soggy). Viewing this unique ecosystem under magnification is transformative, revealing  all sorts of fascinating and beautiful plants adapted to an acidic, nutrient-poor and perpetually wet site. The insectivorous species in particular – pitcher plants and sundews – illustrate amazing adaptations for extracting dietary supplements from their environment!

Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea); trap insects in their large hollow, water-filled leaves.

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White Fringed Orchis (Habenaria blephariglottis; Orchid family)

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Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia); entrap insects with sticky, dew-like droplets on glandular hairs

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Life in a Bog

  1. Fascinating Nick. Such flora jewels and your photos are superb. I had the good fortune to see a range of insectivorous plants at the Chelsea flower show in London, but here your pitcher plant looks intriguing and I assume quite a good size? I didn’t know that sundews are so widely distributed and looks like Australia has the most species. And then there are the orchids!! Such diversity in that family. That white fringed orchis is a beauty. Wonderful post 🙂

    • I visit that small bog – it’s less than an acre in size and hidden on the back side of a red maple swamp – several times a summer and each visit seems like the first. There’s a million acres of bigger and better wetlands to the north of me, in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, that I must include on my list of places to explore. I toyed with the idea of including a landscape scene in this post, for perspective, but it didn’t make the cut. Many of the orchids and pitcher plant flowers were about knee high. The pitcher-like leaves of the pitcher plants are large and conspicuous, averaging a couple inches wide and 3x as long when mature. I plan to do more with orchids; there are several species in cedar swamps within a half hours drive that have escaped my lens. Sundews — Australia? I had no idea. Thanks Liz!!

      • Sounds such a vibrant spot, with a flourishing ecosystem. Your descriptions paint vivid scenes, and for a reader it’s a wonderful way to garner knowledge. I’m intrigued by specialist adaptation, size of pitcher plants, epiphytic orchids. Look forward to your next captures.

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