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One of New York’s Rarest Plants

When I worked in Connetquot River State Park Preserve in New York, I was charged with the monitoring its rare plants and animals. Each spring I traveled a little over a mile into the preserve to look for the rare coastal blue violet. The park had the only population of this violet in all of New York State.

The violet grows on the fire road edges and is difficult to see because it’s often covered by leaf litter and towered over by grasses and sedges. With patience and stamina I was able to spot its blue-violet blossom. Its leaves are unique; the leaves look like a hand with outstretched fingers.

This species is limited to the coastal areas of the eastern U.S. from South Carolina to Maine (although it is thought to be extirpated there). It is an endangered or threatened species in most states.

Now that I am retired, I hope that current and future custodians of the preserve will continue to be good caretakers of the areas these plants grow.

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