Plummers Island

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Plummers Island is a 12-acre Potomac River island in Montgomery County, Maryland, about nine miles upriver from Washington, D.C., which holds the distinction of being the most scientifically studied island in North America.[1][2] It is visible from the American Legion Memorial Bridge of the Capital Beltway, just downriver (east) of the bridge.[2]

Plummers Island (on the right), from across Rock Run Culvert

Scientific study of Plummers Island began in 1899, when botanist Charles Louis Pollard[3] formed the Washington Biologists' Field Club and began the search for a field camp near the club's Washington, D.C. home.[2][4] The club leased the island in 1901, and bought it seven years later;[2] the island is now owned by the U.S. National Park Service.

A 2008 issue of the Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington was dedicated to articles about the flora and fauna of the island.[5] The study of the island's three main plant communities, riparian, terrace, and upland forest,[6] documented 3,012 insect species in 253 families, in 18 orders: Collembola, Odonata, Dermaptera, Blattodea, Phasmatodea, Orthoptera, Psocoptera, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera, Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Coleoptera, Mecoptera, Trichoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Siphonaptera, and Hymenoptera.[7] Another of the studies reported 19 species of freshwater mollusks (7 bivalves, 12 gastropods) in the island's immediate area, bringing the total known for the Middle Potomac River to 42 species.[8] A periodically updated checklist which includes all the vascular plants of the flora, including ferns, fern allies, gymnosperms, and flowering plants, that have ever been reported growing in the wild on the island and its adjacent mainland, totals 885 plant species, of which 704 are native, and 181 naturalized.[9]


  1. ^ Megan Gambino (May 6, 2009). "Field Trip to Plummers Island". Around the Mall. Natural History Museum. 
  2. ^ a b c d "100 Years of Club Plummers Island". DC Audubon Society. July 31, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Charles Louis Pollard". Washington Biologists' Field Club. January 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Karl V. Krombein (1963). "Natural history of Plummers Island, Maryland". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 76. Biological Society of Washington. pp. 255–280. 
  5. ^ "Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington". 15. 2008. p. iv-226. Retrieved 2 Jan 2012. 
  6. ^ Elizabeth F. Wells (23 February 2004). "Present Plant Communities on Plummers Island". Flora of the Washington-Baltimore Area. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 
  7. ^ John W. Brown and Stephen M. Bahr II (2008). "The Insect (Insecta) Fauna of Plummers Island, Maryland: Brief Collecting History and Status of the Inventory". Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington. 15. pp. 54–64. Retrieved 2 Jan 2012. 
  8. ^ Timothy A. Pearce & Ryan Evans. 2008. Freshwater Mollusca of Plummers Island, Maryland. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington 15: 20-30.
  9. ^ Stanwyn G. Shetler, Sylvia Stone Orli, Elizabeth F. Wells and Marcie Beyersdorfer. 2006. Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Plummers Island, Montgomery County, Maryland. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington 14: 1-57.

External links[edit]

Watershed Profile - Potomac River, Montgomery County, Maryland[edit]