Nature walk at Boulder Lake ELC 7.7.21

Boulder Lake Orchid Hike summary by Kelly Beaster

Field trip leader: Rubin Stenseng

The Arrowhead Native Plant Explorers had the unique opportunity to join its very own Treasurer, Rubin Stenseng, on an evening hike to view several orchid species north of Duluth. The walk took place in the Cloquet Valley State Forest, a productive pine forest that is rotationally logged but currently has many mature pine stands. The Cloquet River winds through the state forest before it enters the Island Lake Reservoir and eventually empties into the St. Louis River. 

Rubin, a master naturalist with a keen eye, takes incredible photographs to document his outings. Through his own volunteer work with the UMD Boulder Lake Environmental Center, Rubin discovered three species of rattlesnake plantain orchids Goodyera pubescens, Goodyera repens, and Goodyera tesselata in dry pine country and a cedar swamp. The stark white veins of these orchids create remarkable patterns on the leaves. Even with that checkered pattern, the relatively small plants are difficult to uncover. While the rattlesnake plantain orchids were the main objective, the group also observed heart-leaved twayblade (Listera cordata), non-flowering pink ladyslippers (Cypripedium acaule), both spotted and western coralroots (Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata and Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis), and finally blunt-leaved orchids (Platanthera obtusata). In total, eight orchid species were noted while only making only three stops. Due to the sensitivity of the species and habitats, this event was a members only hike.

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