Founders Academy Student Discovers Rare Plant

Founders Academy Student Discovers Rare Plant
Posted on 10/14/2020
Josiah DiPietroStudent of The Founders Academy Public Charter School Discovers Rare Plant 

The Founders Academy Public Charter School’s Natural History of New Hampshire class found more than they expected when they were out inventorying their Manchester, NH campus woods in September. Josiah DiPietro, Class of 2022, found a population of hairy pine-sap (Hypopitys lanuginosa) on school grounds.

The population, confirmed by Bill Nichols, Senior Ecologist/State Botanist at the NH Natural Heritage Bureau Division of Forests & Lands, is only the fifth known location for the species in the state. Due to its rarity, the species is tracked by the NH Natural Heritage Bureau. 
 

"The students did an excellent job realizing this was something special," said course teacher Kimberly Galambos. "We just didn’t know how special until we got word back."

Students at The Founders Academy are encouraged to be leaders both inside and outside the classroom as defined by the school's mission and leadership code of conduct. DiPietro did just that when he found the rare plant and investigated it further. 


Hairy pine-sap, a herbaceous perennial in the Heath Family (Ericaceae), reaches the northern limit of its range in southeast New Hampshire and York County, Maine. Range-wide, it is found in forests and woodlands, often where oaks (Quercus) are present. Here, the canopy is dominated by white oak (Quercus alba). The stems of hairy pine-sap are pink or red, distinguishing this species from the more widespread yellow pine-sap (Hypopitys monotropa), which has light brown to yellow stems. Hairy pine-sap also flowers later in the year (late August through September) compared to yellow pine-sap (June through mid-August).  Hairy pine-sap was an old discarded taxonomic concept that was lumped under yellow pine-sap but is now recognized again as a distinct species in our current floras. Pine-saps are mycotrophs, receiving nutrients via fungal mycelia rather than through photosynthesis. 

Hairy Pine Sap
The hairy pine-sap (Hypopitys lanuginosa) found on school grounds.

Hairy Pine
Bill Nichols, Senior Ecologist/State Botanist at the NH Natural Heritage Bureau Division of Forests & Lands verifying the rare plant.

Josiah DiPietro
Founders Student, Josiah DiPietro ('22), who found the rare plant species. 

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.