Jessamine County's rare plants also have unique names

gkocher1@herald-leader.comFebruary 23, 2014 

Snow trillium is one of the rare plants found in the Jessamine Creek Gorge in Jessamine County.

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Their names are fanciful and almost musical.

There's cleft phlox and rough false mallow. Globe bladderpod and Svenson's wildrye.

They're all rare plants found in Jessamine County.

A shrub called mountain- lover, a member of the bittersweet family, appears in Jessamine Creek Gorge, said Tara Littlefield, a botanist with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.

"It appears in just one spot in the gorge, clinging to a cliff," Littlefield said.

Snow trillium, which produces a delicate white flower, and water stitchwort, which resembles the greenery of Chia Pets, are both found in the gorge.

Among the endangered mammals found in Jessamine County are the Indiana bat and the gray bat.

John MacGregor, a state herpetologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, has lived in Jessamine County since 1971. He said he has not seen a northern leopard frog in Jessamine County in 34 years.

"When I moved here, they were common all over the county," MacGregor said. "The last time I saw one in Jessamine County was in 1980. I've not seen one since. We still have them in other places in Central Kentucky, but they have disappeared here. I have no idea why."

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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