Journal archives for October 2014

October 05, 2014

White Clay Creek walk, September 27

I made a plant-hunting trip in White Clay Creek State Park on September 27. I planned on looking at a historical site for walking fern, considered historical in Delaware. Interestingly, both this and another site I've visited are surprisingly dry, steep and rocky, although there's enough moss on the rocks to see how they could have supported walking ferns. While I wasn't fortunate enough to find any walking ferns, I did run across something special: a colony of pinesap in a dry oak-heath forest.

When I see these in the Delaware Piedmont, I typically see a fair amount of beech mixed in; this may be a consequence of modern-day fire suppression. Accordingly, it wasn't too surprising to see a dense growth of beechdrops in the rather sparse herb layer. What was surprising was to find a bright red stem of pinesap popping up by the trail. It looks similar to the more common Indian pipe, but has multiple flowers to each stem and is typically colored. I've seen it before in the north, but never down here before. I took a picture of the pinesap and a few of the typical understory associates.

Later in the day, I passed along the old Pomeroy and Newark railroad grade to the south of Hopkins Road. I spotted blue-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago caesia), one of two woodland goldenrods blooming now and fairly common in the area. (The other is Solidago flexicaulis.) To the north of the old water-pumping station, there are some steep slopes and cuttings uphill of the old railroad. While mostly overgrown with Japanese honeysuckle and other invasive vines, one yielded a number of colonies of ebony spleenwort, one of my favorites, and a little further north I found some Heuchera growing on rock.

Coordinates of the pinesap were reported to Bill McAvoy at DNREC. I also alerted David Smith of delawarewildflowers.org who found that the pinesap colony was a great deal more extensive than I had realized. A nice find.

Posted on October 05, 2014 01:43 by choess choess | 7 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment