Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Back Bay Ecological Symposium



Conference Name

Back Bay Ecological Symposium


In 1990, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, conducted an inventory of rare plants within False Cape State Park. The goal was to provide data for the development of a management strategy to protect the Park's rare plants. There are 37 plants monitored by the Division of Natural Heritage that have been recorded within the Park and 30 were observed during the 1990 inventory, including 18 previously not recorded. Extensive populations of some of these species were observed. This number of rare plants species is higher than in any other area of equal size in Virginia. This high number is attributed to the location of False Cape, the density and quality of natural communities, and the existence of some rare community types. Once the inventory of rare plants was completed, management priorities were determined by identifying the habitats in False Cape with rare species. Seven habitats were noted, ranging from the marshes of Back Bay with 13 rare plant species to the maritime forest and wet, sandy roadsides with 2 rare species each. Management recommendations were prescribed to ameliorate threats to the rare plants in these habitats. The two major recommendations were monitoring and control of populations of Phragmites communis (Cav.) Steudel in the marshes of Back Bay and the waterfowl impoundments and the monitoring of pig, horse, and deer damage to the interdunal swale flora. Despite some threats to False Cape State Park, the Park represents the most significant refuge for natural vegetation and rare plants within the Back Bay watershed and one of the most significant concentrations of rare plants within the Commonwealth.