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When looking for wildflowers the two major factors that you must consider are the habitat requirements of the species, and the history of the area. If the abiotic conditions, weather, slope, elevation and soil type are not right it is unlikely you will find what you are looking for. But even if all of the physical requirements are met, the species may have been exterminated by past land use practices.  In the Shenandoah Valley the most influential of these has been the plow. Many wildflower species are long lived, and can stand the rampages of grazing, or the clear-cutting of the forest, but the plow is designed to kill weeds, and a wildflower is no less a weed than any other. Any process that gets below the surface of the soil and strikes the root can kill the plant.  Some of the most diverse sites are on steep hillsides, hillsides that were too steep to plow.
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