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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:37 PM   #1
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Default Holston Mountain Orchids

Was up at the Bristol side of Holston Mountain recently, checking on a population of endangered orchids. Only had time for a few quick snapshots - it's a rather long hike with much of it on old, overgrown trail or no trail…

Most of the mountain is densely forested, and lush with ferns and lichens.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:38 PM   #2
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There are many old-growth forests along the crest of the mountain.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:39 PM   #3
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Holston Mountain is also rich in diverse wildflowers. Here's a skullcap that is rather uncommon in our region, but common on the mountain.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:40 PM   #4
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After "swimming" through the stinging nettles, and crawling through the briars and rhododendron thickets, we found the orchid location. I had first found these back about 6 years ago, following some old hiking notes from many years before.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:41 PM   #5
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Platanthera grandiflora (Greater Purple Fringed Orchid) is a bit more common in the northeastern US. But here in the southeast, it is only found in a few scattered mountainous locations. We were glad to see that this population is still thriving - there were dozens of plants in full bloom!
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:42 PM   #6
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On the way back, we noticed another rather rare orchid - Platanthera orbiculata (Roundleaved Orchid). There were only two plants, and only one had flower buds.
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Last edited by mole; Jul 17, 2016 at 9:28 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:43 PM   #7
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As I was moving around to get a better angle on the photo, we heard a small hissing/rattling sound.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:44 PM   #8
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Holston Mountain has a very healthy Timber Rattlesnake population. This one let me take several snapshots, and even a video. I don't have a way to post the video here, but did post it on our park's facebook page. Can give you the link if you are interested… (Just remember, when they are wagging their tail at you, it's not because they want to be friends!!)
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 8:45 PM   #9
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Return hike was quick and uneventful. Am planning another hike across the other side of Holston for more plant studies, and will post photos later. Hope you liked the flora (and fauna), and will share your comments & critique!
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Old Jul 23, 2016, 7:47 AM   #10
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Nice shots -- and I would like to see the rattler in motion!
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