Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, May 8th (Part 1)

May 8th. When I visited Fort Yargo State Park in mid-February, there were few signs of Spring. The only wildflower plants that were obvious were the leaves of Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) that I found in many places.

The route… I’ve described it here, here, here, and here This walk doesn’t have the variety of wildflowers as my other walk from the Group A Shelter to the Old Fort but it does have some gems. One of the Smallflower (Asimina parviflora) had developed fruit, the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had been blooming for a couple of weeks, and some Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids were beginning to bloom.

Heading into the main woods

The woods at the first bench are very shaded now.

As I headed up the trail to the area I call the ‘Christmas Fern Grove,’ an unusual shaped leaf caught my eye. It was a…

Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum) at the edge of the trail. A closer view of the fronds…

one of the sterile fronds, and…

a fertile frond with many sporangia (spore packets). 

There were three ferns in this area, and four more bordered by a

bend in the trail to the lake-side of this spot on the trail.

Two ferns were located close to the trail; a

closer view of one of these.

The largest Rattlesnake fern was further back from the trail.

Its fertile frond was much more branched than similar fronds on the smaller ferns.

I was curious about the Christmas Ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) nearby.

They were also starting to fruit. The spore cases (sori) were being produced on about one-third of the leaflets; those at the tip of the fertile fronds. These leaflets appeared thicker than those lower on the frond, and many had curled.

The top of the leaflets with sori.

The sori on the underside of these leaflets. 

I decided to check again on the Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica) remaining on a branch that fell during the heavy wind storms early in the year.

The fungus appeared unchanged from the previous week.

Identification courtesy of Bug Guide (
An Orange-patched Smoky Moth (Pyromorpha dimidiata) was resting on a scuppernong leaf.

Then I headed up ‘The Hill’ to  check on the...

fruit on a Smallflower Pawpaw (Asimina pariviflora) plant at the top. Only one of the three fruit that were there on May 1st still remained but it had swelled appreciably. It will be interesting to see how long this fruit survives.

I checked on two pine seedlings growing in the cavity on a fallen log. Both were still growing. 

Then I walked on to the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) tree.

The flower bud I'd been following had opened during the week.

I also found an older flower higher up the tree.

Further along the trail, I found elephantsfoot (Elephantophus sp.) plants had ‘come back to life’ with new leaves for the season.

Then on through the young pinewoods to the Outer Trail that lead down to the dam.

Virginia Dwarfdandelion (Krigia virginica) plants had gone to seed.

Some Appalachicola Toadflax (Nuttallanthus floridanus) plants were also blooming in an open area along the Out Loop trail. 

Then on down to the dam. 

(To be continued…)

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