Dowells Draft and Chimney Hollow Ecology Hike

Goodyera pubescens, downy rattlesnake plantain

Goodyera pubescens, downy rattlesnake plantain. Photo by Elaine Smith.

The Headwaters Chapter 2015 Basic Training Class participated in a field trip along the Dowells Draft and Chimney Hollow trails in the George Washington National Forest, on July 29, led by “field naturalist and muddy boots plant ecologist” Eric Jones. He is the author of Wildflowers of Augusta County VA.

Notes and photos contributed by Elaine Smith, Peggy Plass, and Byron Hukee.

Wednesday, July 29 was a clear day for a nice, informative walk in the woods with Eric Jones. Bill and Selah Sprinkel, Byron Hukee, Kathy Byers, Peggy Plass, Elaine Smith and Judy Tammi participated.

Plant list:

Disturbed Area:

  • Milkweed
  • Teasel
  • Goldenrods
  • Queen Ann’s Lace
  • Wild carrot
  • Chicory
  • Crown vetch (doesn’t like shade)
  • Spotted knapweed
  • Bush honeysuckle
  • Poison Ivy (also prefers more sun than shade)
Botanist Eric Jones. Photo by Elaine Smith

Botanist Eric Jones. Photo by Elaine Smith.

Forest Interior:

  • White Pine
  • Virginia Pine
  • Eastern Hemlock
  • Pignut Hickory
  • Sassafras (bird dispersed since no parent trees present. It was a major export crop for the colonists.)
  • Indian pipe (in all stages)
  • Nodding onion
  • Ebony spleenwort
  • Rattlesnake weed, not in bloom
  • Coral fungi, which is a decomposer
  • Rue leaves
  • Wintergreen
  • Black locust
  • Lichen, needs good air quality, doesn’t like acid rain
  • Pileated woodpecker holes, rectangular
  • Moss can break down cellulose
  • Bracken fern (linear growth makes it hard to eradicate)
  • Trailing arbutus
  • Mountain laurel
  • Red maple
  • Narrow-leaved Houstonia (Houstonia tenuifolia) (related to Bluets)
  • Teaberry
  • Partridgeberry in fruit stage
  • Rattlesnake plantain in bloom and were able to see the difference in the basal leaf venation
  • White and chestnut oak acorns sprout quickly. To make acorn flour, use white or chestnut oak which has less tannin than red and black oaks. Gypsy Moths are not hit as hard by Tannins as most of our native caterpillars. And it seems that they are able to use the tannins as a defense against a virus that has been introduced to control them.
  • Striped maple, or Mountain maple (unstriped)
  • Oak apple gall, wasp
  • Woodfern
  • Running cedar, lycopodium
  • Hepatica, round lobe
  • Christmas fern, sori only on some fronds
  • Wild yam
  • Turkey tail mushrooms
  • Gall on witchhazel. See Byron’s photo below. He suggests this site for more information.
  • Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil (Desmodium nudiflorum)
  • Maple leaved viburnum
  • Chanterelles
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Shagbark hickory, bat habitat
  • Red cap mushroom, Russula, have a beneficial relationship with pines
  • Yellow star grass
  • Heal all
  • Lactarius mushroom, give off their spores in a milky liquid
  • Smooth False Foxglove, Gerardia virginica
  • Wild cucumber
  • New York fern, tapers at both ends
  • American chestnut
  • Rhododendrons, Great Laurel growing next to stream
  • Ironwood
  • Chrysogonum virginianum, Green and Gold
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