"We've always kept our eyes open for it, but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Bob Popp, a botanist with the Vt. Fish and Wildlife Department.
It is the white camas. There were documented sightings of the rare plant in 1879 and 1911, but recordkeeping was vague, only mentioning it was spotted along Lake Champlain. Recently a kayaker and plant enthusiast noticed the plant on bed rock along the lake.
"This is the only location for it in all of New England," Popp said.
Botanists suspected it would be found again-- and it was. About 200 of the plants were discovered on a cliff along Lake Champlain. The hard-to-spot white camas blooms for less than two weeks each summer. It's a member of the lily family and grows to about a foot and a half tall and has about 10 flower heads on it. It is mostly found in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Ontario. Being so rare, officials did not want us to disclose the exact location where this elusive plant can be found, to protect it.
"The reason why the species is so rare-- it is what we classify as a calcifies. So it needs high pH, bedrock with a lot of calcium in it, the bedrock along Lake Champlain is mostly limestone, so it's the perfect habitat," Popp said.
Even though Lake Champlain is lined with a hundred miles of limestone bedrock, Popp says he believes this location is the only spot where white camas is growing.
"It's just the right juxtaposition of the limey bedrock and the seepage, this is densely shaded, it doesn't like a lot of sun, doesn't like a lot of competition," Popp said.
Popp says there is evidence the white camas has been reproducing over the past century at this spot, and he says it is here to stay.
"It's one of the most exciting finds," Popp said.
The white camas is in the process of being added to the state's endangered species list.
The next nearest location that Popp knows where white camas grows is 200 miles away along the St. Lawrence River.
Sunday, December 8 2013 11:56 PM EST2013-12-09 04:56:59 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:36 PM EST2013-12-09 03:36:50 GMT
A Burlington congregation made a short pilgrimage to it's new home Sunday. The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decidedMore >>
The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decided not to renew its lease.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:35 PM EST2013-12-09 03:35:27 GMT
The 5th annual Festival of Trees in St. Albans is helping to feed the hungry this holiday season. Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and theMore >>
Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and the rest will be given away at a raffle.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:02 PM EST2013-12-09 03:02:41 GMT
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.It happened on Front Street Sunday afternoon. The victim told police he was held up at gunpoint by two African AmericanMore >>
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:34 PM EST2013-12-09 02:34:59 GMT
"It was always a lot of fun. It was a great way to dress up and have a fancy party -- something that we usually didn't get to go to, big fancy events," said Ann Cunningham. Cunningham, a native of Burlington,More >>
How do you spread holiday cheer? For decades, one Vermont family has kept up a tradition to throw a christmas party for hundreds of families in need.More >>