This was a very good week for finding rare plants at Moreau Lake State Park! My friends Sue Pierce, Ruth Brooks, and Nancy Slack and I found three wonderful examples, all in one day, at various locations around the park.
The rarest species of all was the Pringle's Autumn Coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza var. pringlei).
Pringle's Autumn Coralroot was actually rated as Extirpated from New York State for well over a hundred years, until a secure population was discovered in Moreau Lake State Park just last year. My friends and I were happy to find it blooming today in the woods, right where we'd found it last year. And finding this wee little coralroot is not so easy to do, it being not only minuscule, but also the same color as the forest floor. This very rare variety of native orchid can be distinguished from the ordinary variety of Autumn Coralroot (C. odontorhiza var. odontorhiza) by the open floret and the floret's broad lower lip.
Finally, we also found several plants of American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) growing atop some calcareous outcroppings in the forest.