Hone Quarry Walk with Chris Bowlen

Two members of the 2015 basic training class were joined by a few other chapter members for a wildflower-focused walk around the Hone Quarry Recreation Area with Headwaters Master Naturalist and botanist Chris Bowlen on Friday morning, May 8, 2015. RoxAnna Theiss took some notes about what was presented. Elaine Smith kept a list of findings below.

HoneQuarry.5.8.15.300Chris spoke to us about the Spring Ephemeral strategy and ecology:  producing early spring greenery before the canopy closes with heavy leafing – storing that energy for later blooming.  A staged blooming cycle allows for the continual cycle of life – migrating insects, food for birds, a balance dependent upon each component.

Interruptions in that balance are often delivered by non-native invasives such as garlic mustard plants that have a mycorrhizal fungi suppressant.  The relationship between plants and mycorrhizal fungi is critical to the well-being and continuation of many plants due to the symbiotic relationship.   The plant performs photosynthesis and other above-ground functions, and the fungi handle underground nutrition-gathering and protect the roots.

Chris told stories of how many invasives were introduced by early colonists such as Bedstraw (cleavers).  In Europe, the dried, matted foliage of the plant was once used to stuff mattresses. Several of the bedstraws were used for this purpose, due to the fact that the clinging hairs cause the branches to stick together, which enables the mattress filling to maintain a uniform thickness.

Evidence of the changing balance at Hone Quarry came from the ever decreasing stands of Jewelweed.  The loss of large predators has allowed an increase in the deer population that feed on the Jewelweed shoots before they can go to seed resulting in a decline in a plant that once blanketed the area.

It was noted that very few of the original natives remain and much of what is considered “normal plant populations” came from somewhere else.  Change happens.

Plants found on the walk:

•    lettuce (so many it’s hard to id until later)
•    sugar maple, has leafed out already
•    shagbark hickory, still getting leaves
•    hemlock (both eastern and Carolina are susceptible to woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae))
•    hickory, leaf stem covering
•    bluets
•    heart leaved aster (leaves)
•    wild strawberries
•    spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
•    wine berry (non native)
•    anemone (wood?)
•    miterwort, bishop’s cap
•    kidney leaved buttercup (Ranunculus)
•    long spurred violet (white and violet)
•    cinquefoil (Indian strawberry)
•    plantain, both common (large round leaf) and English (long pointed leaf)
•    lyre leaved sage
•    fleabane daisy
•    blackberry
•    Virginia creeper
•    poison ivy (much discussed)
•    striped maple (in flower)
•    sycamore
•    witch hazel
•    sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
•    blood root (past bloom, but many leaves remain)
•    impatiens (jewel weed family)
•    goldenrod (will bloom in fall)
•    ebony spleenwort
•    rue anemone
•    wild grape
•    Christmas fern
•    cutleaf toothwort (past bloom, but many leaves remain)
•    yellow violet
•    wild geranium
•    bedstraw/cleavers
•    stinging nettle (lots of wildlife value!)
•    sphagnum moss
•    common blue violet
•    Solomon’s seal
•    wild ginger
•    black cohosh
•    partridge berry
•    honeysuckle
•    greenbrier
•    burdock
•    dogwood
•    Japanese barberry
•    hepatica (past bloom, but many leaves remain)
•    perfoliated bellwort
•    golden ragwort
•    jewelweed (deer will eat tops before it can go to seed)
•    lousewort leaves (?)
•    Microstegium vimineum, stilt grass (dominant invasive)
•    pipevine, Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia)
•    coltsfoot (some gone to seed, like dandelions)
•    early dogbane
•    beech tree
•    fringed polygala

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