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Friday, April 25, 2014

A Hike Too (?) Early

 
I'm leading a hike next weekend that purports to be a "Fern Walk." I had to go past that area today anyway, so I took an abbreviated walk to see what was popping up. No ferns, haha. Not even little nubbins of growth, let alone a fiddlehead. There were some of last year's fronds on the evergreen varieties.

This area should have been sprouting with new fern fronds like crazy. Nothing. Well, nothing ferny. Lots of moss! And it's green.

boggy area

But I did see some evidence of plant life for this season. The skunk cabbage is a little wetter than it likes, thanks to all the rain last week. But it seems to be fine.

skunk cabbage

I have showed you liverwort a couple of other times. I don't know the different ones except that this is a thallose liverwort, which means it looks kind of like a leaf. I do think it's different from the other two, but looks can be deceiving. If you want to see the others, click "liverwort" in the labels at the end.

liverwort

This was a nice little surprise. I hadn't ever seen it along this path before. Just wasn't looking in the right places. It's Goldthread, Coptis groenlandica, which has bright yellow roots (the gold thread), and gets a pretty white blossom. It likes acid soil, telling me that this area is boggy.

goldthread

In slightly drier areas, I found bristly clubmoss, Lycopodium annotinum, although they change the Latin names of these "fern allies" every time you turn around. But this one is easy to tell. It looks like plastic, and the "leaves" point downward. And it grows with runners, not in clumps.

shining clubmoss
Here's one of my favorites! It's a horsetail, Equisetum scirpoides, dwarf scouring rush. But I love how it's curly. It's also very tiny as you might guess by the name.

dwarf scouring rush

Growing pretty much everywhere is partridgeberry, Mitchella repens. Very common to find it with wintergreen, and that's also everywhere. So common, I didn't even take a picture. Both are evergreen, so they are easy to spot in early spring.

partridgeberry

Finally, here's just a piece of driftwood along the river that I liked.

driftwood

Heard the first spring peepers of the year, and saw a fish (probably a steelhead) jump a foot out of the water!

I had to do a lot of work today, and this walk was less than an hour, but it was awesome!



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3 comments:

The Furry Gnome said...

Looks like a nice walk, even without the ferns. I don't think I've ever seen the curly little horsetail. The others all look familiar.

vanilla said...

Indeed. The picture tour is awesome.

Ann said...

it's nice to finally see things growing. For a while I was beginning to think we were going to skip right over spring and summer

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