Your 'plantasy'? What would be some of your dream in-the-wild plant observations?

I got sucked into a YouTube vortex last night and I saw this one which about midway shows this plant geek flying out to Sumatra to catch a Titan arum about to bloom.

There’s something so deliciously time-indulgent about plant observation, vs. animal stuff. You have the luxury of soaking in the experience so much more. (Like a bath vs a shower, I suppose.)

Anyway, how about you?

What would your plant observation fantasy be?


Right now I’m kind of obsessed with myco-heterotroph plants - they don’t even look like plants, for the most part!
Like this one

Here’s some more if you’re interested!


Aconitum noveboracense - Northern Blue Monkshood
Might not be as exotic, but It’s definitely on my bucket list. I went out several times looking for this plant in Iowa where I had read there were confirmed observations previously. I never had any luck.

I also read about some on private property in Iowa, so I might have to get in contact with the land owners to go see if I can take a look. There are populations found in other states that might be easier to find and worth checking out as well.


A surviving old growth stand of American Chestnut.
I’m not sure there are any groves left but I am aware there are some trees. I found a young mature tree once and it was the neatest ever, now I want to see proper old big ones, but I don’t think that is possible.


Fruiting Phoradendron.

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Worse is if you see one that’s fruiting, but it’s too high up the tree to observe up close!


Ooh! That reminds me. I’ve seen ‘ghost pipes’ locally, long before I joined iNat. I think it was in June. Maybe there might be some still? I know where and I’m heading near there today.

Thanks for the reminder!

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You must have read Richard Powers, ‘The Overstory’. Right?

That novel just blew me away. The tragic, sweeping and epic saga of one of the greatest trees of all time. Certainly in North America.


I have not! But theyre a special interest. Keeping a good spot of what was going farrow field at our place open for when Darling 58s come out hopefully next year. Look them up; its super promising!!


I think the best plantasy is the one you didn’t know you had until it is fulfilled. Recently I was vacationing in Maine and in just seeing a recommended sight I found myself in a subalpine environment with really lovely plants. I especially like the plant at 4:02

Some years earlier the same thing happened when I visited Iceland. I had no idea so many plants grew so near the Arctic.


It is the next on my heap to read …

Interesting question, as someone with a botanical affinity it was more of a challenge to answer this question as I thought.

I hope to one day be back in California when the California fetid adderstongue is in bloom. Not an uncommon or rare plant, and I have seen the foliage but would love to see it in bloom.

Other than that my interests reign more locally. I love finding new populations of unusual plants (or should I say, trying to). A few interests of mine to find localy are:
Spiranthes sp. (ladies-tress orchids)
Platanthera orchids
Malaxis bayardii
Crane-fly orchid
Hartford (climbing) fern

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Recently I have begun to dream about a journey of several months to explore the Andes, beginning in Colombia and ending in Patagonia, to see how many orchids I might discover. So far the orchids (4000+ observations of about 500 species in this family, over the course of about 4 years; many still not described to science) I have submitted to iNaturalist are mostly from Ecuador. So many more thousands to see and discover in the Andes.


Cool topic. Thanks @broacher.

Not a particular species, but somehow the other day I found myself looking up the “oldest” forests in the world. Here’s an example list:

My plantasy would be to go hang out in these places and look at ancient lineages of plants and the life they support, like Daintree forest:

The Daintree Rainforest is estimated to be about 180 million years old making it the oldest forest in the world…With such a long and rich history, the Daintree Rainforest is home to about 30% of Australia’s frog, reptile and marsupial species in Australia, 65% of the country’s bat and butterfly species as well as 18% of all bird species…There are also over 1,200 species of insects living in Daintree Rainforest…The Daintree Rainforest is so old that it is home to 12 out of the 19 total primitive flowering plant families found on Earth.

I have no idea how ‘legitimate’ these kind of internet lists and descriptions are of “oldest forest”, but hey, it’s a fantasy/daydream so I’m not treating it too seriously.


ANY new native species that volunteers where I simply made room for it…this year it was Two-Leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla), another year it was Moneses uniflora “Shy Maiden”, which I had only seen once. There are other stories too, in an ongoing battle to keep one acre in its native state…with 1,200’ of roadfront. But it is a lovely property with many kinds of microhabitats, and I can’t think of anything more constructive to fight the Anthropocene, a lost cause, because what was in Pandora’s box was seeds, and stuffing them back in is not something I can get many other people interested in…but am willing to circle my wagons and make my last stand here.

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I saw two of Hawaii’s three native orchid species in February. Would love to complete the trifecta some day!

As a kid growing up in Hawaii, a lot of the common mainland species were pretty exotic to me, and I’d see them all the time in nature books. One that caught my attention at a young age and has held my attention since then was jack-in-the-pulpit, so I was stoked to finally see one last month.


I have a semi-joking goal to see every species in genus Calochortus. I probably won’t actually see them all; even if I had the time to drive around the western US looking for all 77, I believe some are very rare and protected. I did manage to see 5 new species in one week last month, bring my total from 6 up to 11.


Reminds me of my youth. There was a mature chestnut in my neighborhood in New Hampshire that I would collect a few nuts from every year. It was only when I was older and had moved away that I became aware of the blight. On a return trip to visit family I looked for the tree but it was gone (sigh).
I hope to get to one of the Darlingtonia californica preserves in California or Oregon. Carnivorous plants are amazing!


I’m hoping to be able to get some the Darling 58’s to plant. They are truly blight resistant, its pretty genius! I was going to try some of the supposedly resistant ones on the market but have been warned none really are. And I know we have the blight here; we have some old stumps. So I’m just being patient and hoping they get released on time!

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Plantasy…I’d like to come across a couple of thousand-year ginsengs. or maybe a chinese cymbidium specimen with a most intriguing and unique scent. Paphiopediums are getting very rare and there is probably no more new species coming out, but it will be great to have a species of wild Paphiopedium named after me. I have a secret ambition to find that ultimate super tree which will solve global warming once and for all. Anyone who possess that will be rich.

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