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Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bog Asphodel, Watercolor by Robin A. Jess, US

Narthecium americanum

Listing: Endangered, New Jersey, North Carolina (believed extirpated in NC)

The Plant’s Story

Bog asphodel is an endangered lily that grows about a foot high. Its habitat is very limited and specific. It prefers the edge of slow-moving water that may cover the base of the plant intermittently. Extended periods of flooding or drought caused by disruptions in hydrology due to development are its main threat, although water patterns are also compromised by beaver dams and cranberry cultivation.

The Artist’s Story: Robin A. Jess

I have been interested in flora of the New Jersey Pine Barrens for over 30 years and in the early 1990s, I produced a series of 40 paintings of Pine Barrens plants. I first saw bog asphodel at Webb’s Mill Bog in the Pine Barrens. One hot July day, I saw shimmering in the heat rays across the bog, a small but bright mass of yellow. I found a few plants nearer to me, allowing closer observation. I photographed the plant and made some color notes. Between my sketches, slides and several visits to the New York Botanical Garden herbarium, where I studied pressed specimens, I produced this painting.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.