Friday, July 2, 2010

Poisonous Globe Flowers Found Sussex County

The Globe Flower is a glorified Buttercup; its leaves and flowers resemble the Buttercup in form but are larger. Improved varieties have orange, gold, orange-red and lemon-colored flowers, often double. The commonest species is Trollius europwus, but while all the cataloged species resemble each other in form, the seasons and the colors of the flowers differ.

Globeflowers are found with the scientific name of Trollius and are seen with the common name spelled both globeflower and globe flower. All Trollius species are poisonous when fresh to cattle and other livestock, but their acrid taste means they are usually left uneaten. They are, however, used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Silver-ground Carpet.

Recently three New Jersey researchers discovered in this spring the world’s largest population of the rare and endangered "spreading globeflower." About 15,000 robust clumps of "Trollius laxus" were found across two acres of state-owned land in the central portion of Sussex County on April 22, the state Department of Environmental Protection said. Botanists believe the plant, a subspecies of the buttercup family, may have been growing there undetected for decades.

Less than 60 locations of the plant have been confirmed in the world, all in the northeastern United States, where they grow in rare and wet limestone based regions known as calcareous fens. A few locations exist in Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but most occur in New Jersey and New York, which has the most known locations with 45 sites. Until the Sussex County find, New York had the largest known cluster, with 2,000 plants.

Globe flowers are perennial plants. Globe flowers have usually have golden yellow blooms although some cultivators have bright orange flowers. Blooms appear from late spring through mid summer.