Large-flowered marshallia (Marshallia grandiflora) grows in bogs and along river banks in Appalachia where it earned the common name Monongahela Barbara’s-buttons. It’s so rare that it’s endangered or threatened throughout its range and no longer grows in Maryland.
In southwestern Pennsylvania it’s found on the flood-scoured rocky banks of the Youghiogeny River where it relies on the floods to remove other species that would crowd it out. In fact, the biggest threat to Barbara’s-buttons is flood control. When the river quits flooding this plant can’t survive.
As you can see it has beautiful flowers. What you can’t tell from the photos is that the plant is 10 to 36 inches tall. From a distance the flower stands on a stalk above the leaves.
Up close the flower is intricate.
Botanists and plant lovers seek out Large-flowered Marshallia when it blooms in June.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)