Shale-barren ragwort, Senecio antennariifolius
Photograph by R. Harrison Wiegand
This flower one of the drought-tolerant plants that thrives on hot, dry shale slopes in Washington and Allegany Counties.
Shale-barren ragwort depends on the dryness of its stony shale glade habitat to eliminate competitors. The steep Ridge and Valley region provides many places where drought stress kills tree seedlings and maintains natural openings for such plants. Because shale glades often face south toward the sun, temperatures can reach 140 degrees in the summer.
Like some other shale glade specialists, Shale-barren ragwort seeks out scarce water with long roots and has adaptations which enable it to conserve water. An abundance of short white hairs shields the stem and leaves from the sun. It usually flowers in late April and May. his majestic plant, “the flower of eternal calm”, grows only in quiet waters.
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