Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, July 6th, 2015 (Part 1)

July 6th. I started to walk again at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my favorite walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back.This is a rewarding walk for viewing wildflowers and I’ve been trying to walk it weekly and document the wildflowers I see.

The route, which I described here, here, and here. The early spring wildflowers have finished blooming; it’s time to watch the developing fruit. A few late spring/summer wildflowers are blooming now.

Starry Rosinweed (Silphium astericus) were still blooming by the trail just beyond the Strawberry Bush. I wonder how long they will continue to bloom.

The seed capsules were still developing on this Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus). The seed capsules may have swollen slightly but there weren’t as many as there had been at first.

A small Hairy Angelica (Angelica venenosa) was blooming. It was barely three feet tall. At one time, there were several large plants in this area. I wonder if continued mowing of the area, particularly at the wrong time, has resulted in their demise.

A small Spurred Butterflypea (Centrosema virginanum) vine was starting to bloom. The vine was climbing up a blackberry cane; the flowers was partly hidden by its leaves.

The surviving Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plants, that had not been eaten, still had berries that were ripening. They ripen fairly slowly. 

There is a large fallen log between the Solomon’s Seal plants grow and the first bridge. As I walked past, I saw some, what I through at the time were Coral Slime (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa var. fruticulosa) fruting bodies. I almost didn’t stop to photograph them but they were in a much more open, sunny area than I would expect to see these. I photographed them almost half-heartedly. Imagine my surprise when I processed the images to find that I had photographed…

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa var. porioides fruiting bodies early in their formation. The fruiting bodies were still transparent, and it was easy to see the honeycomb structure. This was another one of the slime molds that I hadn’t expected to ever see. An exciting find!

The seed capsules on the Pipsissewa (Chimaphila maculata) just past the first bridge, were still healthy – and enchanting.

Finally! A ripe - at least very dark - berry on the Deerberry (Vaccinium staminium) bush. I only saw this one 'ripe' berry. They're probably eaten as soon as they are tolerably ripe, as most of the berries on this particular bush have disappeared. 

The seed capsule on the Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) plant was still hard. I’m very hopeful that it will ‘make it’ now.

The seed capsules on Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) vines were still doing nicely too. Once I found them, I haven’t had much doubt that they would survive to maturity; my only regret is that I missed the very early stage of their development.

The seed capsules on the witchhazel bush (Hamamelis sp.) were still doing well. I haven’t seen any attrition of these at all. But, on this occasion, a change caught my eye.

Small ‘growths’ at the leaf axils. The first signs of flower buds for this season. Judging by the number, I don’t think there will be as many flowers as last season.

The seed capsules are still healthy on the Mountain Azalea (Rhododendron canescens) bush at the top of the cliff.

The Nakedflower Ticktrefoil (Desmodium nudiflorum) stalks were still blooming. I noticed, when processing this image, that there is a tiny seed pod forming at the right side of the flower stalk. Did you know that the seed pod of a leguminous plant like this is called a loment? A loment, when mature, breaks up into one-seeded joints.

The seed capsule on the Eastern Sweetshrub bush at the top of the cliff. This combined image shows the capsule partially hidden under the leaves (left), and with the leaves held aside (right). It’s easy to miss this capsule if I forget to look. 

Just a little further along the trail above the cliff, I found a…

small Dog Vomit (Fuligo septica) fruiting structure. The white material at the left is plasmodium that has not been incorporated in the fruiting structure. I had never seen a Fuligo septica fruiting structure as yellow as this one. 

I walked down towards the Fishing Area and found these fruit, drupes, on a…

Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) tree. I had seen flowers in the past but this was the first time I had seen the fruit. 

I walked over the bridge into the Fishing Area.

Fruit are still in the early stages of development on the Buttonbushes (Cephalanthus occidentalis). I’ve never seen these mature before either so I’m following them with some interest.

The fruit on the Silky Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) and the…

Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata) looked healthy. Sadly, these bushes were pruned severely and I won’t see these mature this year.

The final sighting before heading towards the ‘Rock Garden’ was Carolina Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), quietly blooming in the shade near the point. 
(To be continued…)

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