Thursday, August 9, 2018

Fabulous Fens

Unfortunately, most of us use the terms "bog" and "fen" interchangeably, but aside from the fact that they’re both wetlands, they’re actually quite different.
Bogs receive only surface water and therefore are normally quite acidic; they have no inlets or outlets; and are generally low in nutrients.

Fens, on the other hand, receive groundwater and usually have both an inlet and outlet; since fens’ water derives from groundwater, they have more available nutrients than bogs; and although they may be acidic, fens are usually neutral or basic.

Although bogs are home to an interesting variety of vegetation, fens frequently have a rich array of plants, including orchids.

Friends and family have frequently accompanied me in visits to fens in five states. Come, let us go on a photographic journey to look at some of the plants in those fens.

Acidic fens are lower in nutrients than those with a neutral or basic chemistry and, therefore, are often home to the same carnivorous plants found in bogs. 

Pitcher plant –

And sundews –

And specialized insects like this Hudsonian whiteface dragonfly –

For many of us the real attraction is in the less acidic fens; in the many species of wild orchids, some quite rare, found there –


Leafy White Orchid
Northern Green Orchid
Rose Pogonia

Showy Lady's-slipper
Small White Lady's-slipper

White Fringed Orchid
Yellow Fringed Orchid
The vegetation in fens can’t withstand the trampling of many visitors nor the depredations of unscrupulous collectors and so the sites where the photos were taken will remain as "secret undisclosed locations".


The Furry Gnome said...

Fabulous photos of the orchids! We have a few interesting fens and bogs up here, which I've loved exploring over the years

Lady Fi said...

Wonderful photos!

s.c said...

Educative post. Never to old to learn. Great photo's.