A Floristic Survey of Vascular Plants of the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Purcellville, Loudoun County, Virginia



McMurchie, Elizabeth

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A floristic survey and analysis of community composition were conducted during the 2017 and 2018 growing seasons at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES), Purcellville, Virginia. The BRCES is an 895 acre park located in the "Between the Hills" region of Loudoun County between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountain. The park contains several wetlands, including Gordon Pond, Piney Run, Sweet Run and an unshaded seep adjacent to Sweet Run, as well as a wetland that has developed in place of a formerly dammed pond. Parts of two meadows, Demory Field and Sawmill Field, as well as a powerline cut, are maintained for native grasses and meadow plants. On June 14, 2016, the mostly wooded western 600 acres of the park were transferred to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to form Loudoun County's first state park. In this study, 515 species belonging to 328 genera and 105 families were identified. Forty-four species and seven varieties and subspecies identified were new records for Loudoun County. Two species, Pycnanthemum torreyi and Platanthera peramoena, are considered rare at the state level under the Virginia Natural Heritage Resources designations S2 (imperiled) and S1 (critically imperiled) respectively. Eleven plots were used to determine community types as defined by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program resulting in five distinct community types belonging to terrestrial and palustrine communities and a sixth, mixed terrestrial and palustrine community. The data collected in this survey and community type study provide a baseline for monitoring the impact of future park development at the BRCES on the park’s flora.



Botany, Floristic survey, Flora of Virginia, Plants of Virginia, Plant science, Floristics