Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Come with me into an East Coast forest

Forgive my amateur photographic skills and watch out for the poison ivy.

We start at the edge of my yard, where strawberry bush grows with scraggly stems but an arresting fall seed-pod display. Mountain folk in these parts call it "hearts a-bustin' with love."

As we slip into the trees -- holly, red oak, hickory, tulip poplar and sweetgum, this is one of the first little plants we'll see: Chimaphila umbellata (Umbellate Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, or Prince's pine). "Pipsissewa" is a Cree name meaning "It-breaks-into-small-pieces," according to Wikipedia.

Then we have to climb carefully down a steep slope covered with fallen trees. Hurricanes and summer storms have taken their toll in this area, which is a natural wind tunnel. At the bottom is a big beech tree that occassionally gets its roots wet when the creek swells. It would be prettier if it hadn't been a target for vandals. Beech tree roots remind me somewhat of the banyan trees I saw in the tropics.

Now we are at the edge of the creek and the ground is alternately muddy and sandy and covered in poison ivy, invasive Japanese stiltgrass and multiflora rose. In the spring, a beautiful little wildflower, Spring Beauty, speckles the ground with its blooms.

Jewelweed hangs its orange flowers along the swampy creek edge. Dayflower blooms this time of year, too.

I'll finish this walk at lunch time. Gotta pay the bills.


thailandchani said...

Beautiful pictures! :)



Open Grove Claudia said...

WOW! What a treat for my morning! Thanks for sharing.