Seepage wetlands on Virginia's coastal plain support a variety of plants and natural communities that are very limited in our state today. Seeps or springs occur near the heads of streams where the gently sloping ground surface intersects the water table. The plant communities associated with these wetlands are strongly influenced by the pH of the spring water, the available nutrients and light conditions.
Cherry Orchard Bog Natural Area Preserve features a seep that supports a remarkable assemblage of rare plants, including large-flowered camass, bog-buttons, large white fringed orchids and purple pitcher plants. Here, along a power line right-of-way, a steady flow of acidic, low-nutrient groundwater supports these rarities in the remnants of an open wetland, which once covered a significantly larger area. Prior to modern times, this site would have experienced frequent fires that kept trees, shrubs and woody vines from dominating the wetland as they do today outside of the power line right-of-way. Nat ural Heritage Program staff have begun using prescribed fires to expand and maintain the habitat for the rare plants and restore the site to a more natural condition.
This recently acquired preserve has no public access facilities.