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Wildflower presentation focuses on state park

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, Claytor Lake State Park Ambassador Mary Rhoades will be giving a presentation entitled, ”Spring Wildflowers of Claytor Lake State Park” at the Radford Public Library. Rhoades describes the Claytor Lake State Park Ambassadors as a group of volunteers who support the park and help out any way they can.

The presentation will consist a slide show featuring photographs of wildflowers taken by Rhoades and wildflower enthusiast Joyce Simms, who will also be in attendance.

“I’ll be talking about the wildflowers blooming in April and May at the Park and then we’ll talk about little interesting things about them; if we know a pollinator, for example.”

Though the talk will focus on flowers yet to bloom, Rhoades says there is at least one wildflower that has already pushed its way toward the early spring sun.

“There’s a wildflower in bloom out here, which is unusual because it wasn’t even recorded in the mountains,” said Rhoades. “It’s a very pretty little thing called Houstonia pusilla.  Its common name is Tiny Bluet.  It is quite different from the Common Blue, which is blue with a yellow eye and blooms in April. It’s in the middle of the grass where it’s mowed and it’s blooming really early. The easiest place to find Tiny Bluet is to go to the cabin loop road at the park and then walk into the grass and look around the horseshoe pits. The flowers of Tiny Bluet range in color from purple to white.”

Aside from being an Ambassador of Claytor Lake State Park, Rhoades is the former president and current vice president of the New River Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

“I worked in the department of entomology but my degree was in botany long, long, long ago,” said Rhoades. ” It’s, I guess, a hobby. I like plants.”

Sunday, April 14, Rhoades will act as a guide for one of four scheduled NRV Hikes for Hospice, which will occur at Claytor Lake State Park. Details about the Hike for Hospice event will be forthcoming as soon as they are available.

Mary Rhoades wildflower presentation begins at 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Radford Public Library. Admission is free and the public is invited.

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