Hexalectris Orchid Survey

By Marcie Haley

Twice a week during June and July, volunteers search specific areas of Cedar Ridge Preserve to locate and document H. spicata, H. warnockii, H. arizonicus, and H. nitida. Hexalectris orchids are very rare and have a limited range. H. warnockii is an endangered species per the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

Weekly surveys began in 2005 under the professional leadership of Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden. The NTMN Project Leader, Stephanie Varnum, joined the survey team at the beginning, along with her late husband Jim Varnum.  With only the final survey left to complete, Stephanie reports that 2018 is the second best year ever for the survey with 635 orchids counted. H. warnockii numbers were off the charts with 424 counted- the most ever!

Watch for Stephanie’s presentation about the survey at the Texas Master Naturalist State Meeting in October. She’ll also give the presentation at one of our NTMN meetings next spring.

These are the most recent results from the survey:
Second best year ever – 635!
Arizonica – way down, only 5
Nitidas – 151, very nice, only had 4 years with more
Spicatas – 55, only had 2 years with more
Warnockiis – off the chart 424, most ever!!!

Tagging H. nitida

Rare H. nitida open flower

H. nitida

H. warnockii

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