Saturday, April 7, 2012

A walk in the forest

I haven't been blogging lately or even thinking much about plants because my son is seriously ill and it is weighing heavily on my mind, but yesterday I finally got out to my local forest, E. T. Seton Park.

This is a forest under a lot of stress—huge quantities of litter (and one unofficial garbage dump area), loads of dog strangling vine, some garlic mustard, soil compaction from improvised footpaths/bicycle trails, serious erosion. I found only two plants in bloom (not surprising this early in the year), neither of them native: [Photo: Tussilago farfara.]

(above) Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot, pas-d'âne, tussilage). [Photo: Narcissus.]

(above) Narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête' (I'm guessing). Clearly someone has done a bit of guerilla gardening. I don't think it is a good idea to introduce non-natives in wilderness areas, but this little clump of daffodils is the least of this forest's problems.

I think this fern must be native, though I am lousy at fern identification: [Photo: mystery fern]

And I was very pleased to see this native coming up: [Photo: leaves of Erythronium americanum.]

(above) Erythronium americanum (trout lily, dog-tooth violet, érythrone d'Amérique).

The forest was disturbingly quiet—I heard only one bird (a red-winged blackbird, though I didn't see him or her). I saw only one black squirrel, how sad is that? I did see an intriguing sign that another, larger mammal was around recently: [Photo: gnawing marks on tree.] This doesn't look quite like the beaver gnaw marks I'm used to. Could it be from deer?

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