Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring in Crothers' Wood, Part I

Went for a hike through Crothers' Woods yesterday and took some pictures. Now is the time to view spring ephemerals before the forest canopy closes in. Many of the usual suspects were present. Here are a few notables.

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

and White (Trillium grandiflorum). Good to see that our provincial flower can still be found in the Don.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) has already gone to seed

If you nip a leaf off you'll see orangy-red sap ooze out. This is how the plant got its name.

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum). This stuff is all over the place. A couple of years ago I wrote about the ecology of this plant.

Early Meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum). It was difficult to get a good shot of this plant. There are many inconspicuous flowers, all hanging down.

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata). I photographed its cousin, D. diphylla, last spring in Earl Bales Park.

In addition to spring ephemerals, other plants are in evidence as well, including some we don't care for.

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), the glossy leaved dark brown plant. I first noticed this plant last spring in another ravine. It doesn't flower until the end of May.

Horsetail ferns (Equisetum spp.) Remnant of an ancient group of plants that dominated the Devonian Age, only a few species remain. It is listed as a weed in Ontario since it has some toxic properties that cause problems for cattle.

All that comes up green is not golden. 95% of the understory plants here are Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). This was taken on the embankment below the Bayview Extension. This invasive plant now dominates the forest floor here and will be difficult to control. The roots of this plant have unusual toxic properties that inhibit the growth of native forest trees.

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