On September the 7th, the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society will hold its late summer field trip series to tour restored coastal prairie projects. Dr. Vidrine says that there are about 50,000 blazing stars beginning to bloom at the Eunice restored site. In the past, there have been some good displays but from what I saw in June during my time collecting seed and from what Dr. Vidrine says, it is certain to be a year to remember. Nowhere is there a place that I know of with so many of these precious plants. Two things are at play here: the blazingsatr has finally gotten adapted well-enough to the site for the seed to become viable. That and the fact that we got record rains this past winter in southwestern Louisiana, preceeded by two years of extreme drought, obviously provided the perfect storm for blazingstar. There should be some good butterfly viewing at the ten acre site.
We’ll start at about eight a.m. at the 330 acre Duralde Restored Prairie, a Lacassinne Wildlife Refuge property. Then we’re off to downtown Eunice to see the best restored prairie in the south: the ultimate biodiversity garden.
One of the most interesting things about prairie restoration is that when all of the work is done, when it gets up and running, it takes on a life of its own, adapting to micro-niches in the landscape, producing biological patterns, associations and opportunities. Plants settle where they grow best: colonizing and declining as circumstances permit.
When I stroll these gardens I’m transported through time to a much more comfortable place, even though its 100 degrees outside.
After we tour the restorations, we’ll head to lunch where Dr. Vidrine will discuss briefly, his new book on mites of mussels and how they relate to the Cajun Prairie. Then the main presentator will be Jacob Delahoussey, who will, with the assistance of Dr. Allen, discuss the rare plants of Fort Polk, Louisiana.
It always amazes me that so few people show up to this event, although in the last year or two we have had record crowds. Several new folks have started coming out to enjoy these premiere, ecologically precious properties.
above: liatris spicata/ liatris acidota with a single Manfreda stalk in fruit, at frey prairie, south of Eunice: an ancient relict prairie
Also, Dr. Allen will have his annual Lily-Orchid Day on August 16-18. check on Louisiana Native Plant Society’s or Allen Acres website for details
I hope to see you there!
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