|Lophiola aurea, Brunswick Co, North Carolina|
June 3, 2015
Golden-Crest (Lophiola aurea) is endangered in North Carolina where it is known from only a handful of sites in the extreme southeastern coastal plain. The species is entirely absent from adjacent states of South Carolina and Virginia but populations reappear both further north and south, The nearest populations to the south occur in south-central Georgia, a disjunction of approximately 440 miles! From there, Lophiola's known distribution (based on USDA PLANTS database) skips over another approximately 140 miles before re-appearing in the panhandle of Florida (where it seems to be most widespread), and adjacent Alabama and southern Mississippi. Interestingly, another widely disjunct population has been reported in western Louisiana. To the north, the species re-appears in New Jersey and a few points beyond including Nova Scotia! These northern populations may be the most unexpected. To quote G.E. Nichols (Rhodora 1919), "Lophiola aurea in Nova Scotia. Surely there must be a mistake". But no mistake...it occurs there along with a number of other disjunct populations of typically southeastern US coastal plain species.
|Lophiola aurea population in Brunswick Co, NC|
(dark shadow on left is dense woods)
Back in North Carolina, the small population shown here (left) was holding on at the very edge of a power-line clearing. Maintenance activities and off-road vehicles had torn up much of the adjacent ground while the surrounding woods appeared to be too dense and overgrown (unburned) to support the plant.
Last summer I observed Lophiola in all its glory in an open pine savanna in north Florida. It's almost embarrassing how much time I spent watching small bees visit the tiny (~ 10mm wide) flowers. Since I did, I'll include a few images here:
|Lophiola aurea pollinator, south of Tallahassee Florida|
July 5, 2014
I'd be interested to know what species this little bee is, and whether or not it occurs throughout Lophiola's highly fragmented range.