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Finding Wisconsin’s “Holy Grail” of plants, not seen since 1958

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DNR Ecologist Ryan O'Connor snaps a selfie with a green violets in a State Natural Area on May 5, 2021. It's the first time the plant has been reported since 1958. (Photo: Ryan O'Connor)

Ryan O’Connor got a note from his 6-year-old daughter that morning.

“Dear Dad, I hope you find lots of rare stuff,” Sophia wrote.

Turns out, he did, discovering the Holy Grail of plants in Wisconsin, not seen since 1958.

O’Connor, an ecologist with the Wisconsin DNR, joined La Crosse Talk PM on Thursday to talk about the discovery of the green violet (Hybanthus concolor), found in a State Natural Area, between La Crosse and Eau Claire.

We also talked about what the DNR will do now with that plant and how many notes his daughter has left him since that May morning.

Green violets, re-discovered in Wisconsin May 5, 2021, in a State Natural Area between La Crosse and Eau Claire. (PHOTO: Ryan O’Connor)

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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