The Springfield Bog and pitcher plants

Local History

Some area residents will be aware of the bog on the Fairgrounds Road in North Springfield. Others will have knowledge about pitcher plants but might not know they can be seen locally.

The North Springfield bog is a boreal bog created at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. A bog is a depression in the earth filled with water and rotting vegetation. It’s interesting that a bog has no inlet or outlet of water. Their source of water is from rain and other precipitation. Bogs contain murky, stagnant water all year.

Bog water is very acidic where vegetation floats on the surface. Bogs have created an environment for plants that have adapted to acidic water and low oxygen levels. Cranberries and sphagnum moss are often found in bogs. For me the most interesting bog plants are pitcher plants. North Springfield Bog has many of the seldom seen pitcher plants.

The pitcher plant is like a Venus fly trap. That is they feed on insects. Insects fall into the “pitcher” of the plant and are slowly decomposed thereby feeding the plant. This time of year pitcher plants have a tall and interesting flower. I include a close-up of that flower.

Ron Patch
Pitcher Plant blossom. Photo by Ron Patch.

The other photo included is the pitcher plant. You’ll see that pitcher at the base of the flower stem. You’ll also notice the pitcher has veins, somewhat resembling arteries. You can also see the flower stem.

Ron Patch
Pitcher plants. Photo by Ron Patch.

I visited the bog this past week. The pitcher plant flowers are in full bloom and will be for some time. If you’ve never seen one of nature’s unique bogs, now would be the time.

Directions: At Springfield Riverside School turn on to Fairgrounds Road. Just before you get to the Springfield Town Garage and the old armory is a pulloff on the left. Park in the pulloff and look for a narrow metal sign post. On this signpost you will see a simple sign in small letters that reads, “BOG.” Close to that signpost you’ll see a well-worn trail. Take this trail for a very short walk of maybe three hundred yards. As you approach the bog you’ll encounter an informational sign provided by the Ascutney Mountain Audubon Society. This sign will provide you with a little information about the bog. I also noticed many interesting wildflowers growing along the trail. Watch out for poison ivy.

At the bog you’ll be struck by the wildness of this area. Floating walks have been installed so that a visitor can venture right out into the bog on top of the water. You will see pitcher plants growing right beside the walkways. Do not disturb the plants or pick any of the flowers. These flowers create seeds for future generations of pitcher plants. It’s an amazing place that must be left unmolested.

My mother grew up in Amsden and told me many times about the pitcher plants growing behind her house there. They always held special memories for her. I’m sure they grow in other places around Vermont but doubt they are common.

We are fortunate to live in Vermont where we have such a diverse landscape. It is my hope that you will go visit this natural history treasure. Take your kids or grandkids and teach them the importance of nature.

The Chester Historical Society is asking for your help. We need donations for our July 22nd yard sale. We’ll accept anything of value and do real well with antiques and collectibles. To arrange pickup you can call Steve Lavoie at 802-875-4542, Bill Lindsay at 802-875-2671, Danny Clemons at 802-463-9324 or me at the number next to my photo.

This week’s old saying. “I brought you a ladder so you could get off your high horse.”

 

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