Discoveries Out & About: Bog Beauties

Grass Pink
Calopogon tuberosus
I was recently invited to tour a local bog by City staff. This bog is very small, located in a local park and is about 3 acres in size. The center portion which is about 50 feet in diameter was the most diverse. Cattails ring the outer portion of the bog.

This bog is comprised of Sphagnum moss and many acidic loving bog plants. Two orchid species were flowering, a small cluster (4-5 plants) of Grass Pink (Calopogon tuberosus) as well as Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) which was dotted throughout the center bog area.

Bees and numerous Bog Copper (Lycaena epixanthe) butterflies were actively pollinating the Small Cranberries (Oxycoccus quadripetalus).

Small Cranberries were abundant amongst the Sphagnum moss. These Cranberries are woody, with layering stems that reroot across the bog. The fruit is surprisingly large for the size of the flower - almost 1 cm wide maturing in late September.

You had to look closely at the Sphagnum moss to see the Round Leaved Sundews (Drosera rotundifolia). These Sundews utilize the sticky substance on the ends of the leaf hairs catch insects, break them down with enzymes and consume the resulting nutrients.

A few Marsh Cinquefoil (Comarum palustre) plants were also present and in full bloom. The flowers were a dark maroon fading to a light maroon on the tips of the petals.

This was a great glimpse of some bog species here in the metro area which are more typically found in the northern part of Minnesota.