Fayette Township’s Traci’s Swamp is at Risk

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Kelso Swamp, Fayette Township, PA

Sure, Traci’s Swamp at Kelso Road and Pattridge Lane is a neat, pocket swamp. Fayette Township is just 7 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Beavers likely created the swamp, and hundred of animals and plants are now forever in their debt. The swamp is privately owned, and Traci can’t get the Western Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy to come and consider conserving the swamp and Traci’s Meadow. The Conservancy is too busy to visit, and with much more important fish to fry. Traci? She lives a stone’s throw away, and she’s a consummate naturalist.

At Traci’s invite, I visited the Swamp, and was delighted. Butterflies were all about, and the Viceroys were fresh and deeply hued.

During one of those breaks in the butterfly action, I notice this tiny wildflower. My wildflower guides haven’t helped me yet. It’s pert, self-confident and very optimistic. It grows in very wet soil, in between rivulets of water seeping from the swamp.

Soon after sharing this post, two of our friends got to work identifying it. Here we have Small Flowered Willow (Epilobium parviflorum). Native, no. Rare here, yes. It is a naturalized european transplant. Thanks Pete and Barbara Ann.


5 thoughts on “Fayette Township’s Traci’s Swamp is at Risk

  1. Jeff, upon further research I have decided that I believe your lovely diminutive flower is Epilobium Parviflorum, or Small Flowered Willow Herb, is a rare herb originally from central europe now found in marshes, beside burns or areas of disturbed soil. Two factors helped me decide between E. hirsutum and E. parviflorum is the fact that hirsutum gets 3-6 ft tall thus ruling it out because of large size of plant, and the fact that hirsutum is more pink and parviflorum is more of a light purple and the flower is very tiny, They both are hairy and they both originate in Europe.It is fun seeing something new and different and running down what it is. I love puzzles !

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  2. Actually, now that I am looking more closely at the skipper photo, I think that it is a Leonard’s Skipper, rather than a Long Dash.

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    • A long look at Cech and Tudor, as well as the late season viewing (early September) together work to underline your Leonard’s ID. Seeing a Leonard’s, even a worn one, is good.


  3. Jeff, your flower is a willow-herb, genus Epilobium. I would guess hairy willow-harb, Epilobium hirsutum, but I am not positive. The Long Dash you found here is a species of conservation concern, so you actually might be able to get a Western Pennsylvania Conservancy ecologist (me) to come look at the site. Please send me some details.

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