August 27th. 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 that, unfortunately, it had lost; the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had bloomed, and some Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids had bloomed and two were setting seeds. For the moment, some wildflowers we still blooming but there was a lull between seasons. I had thought that the slime mold fruiting was done for the year, but I was in for a surprise.
Several wildflowers were blooming in the open area under the power lines near the beginning of the trail. This is a good place to find wildflowers of several species.
I’d been encountering Bicolor Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) plants blooming in the main woods for many months. On this walk, I found one blooming in this open area.
Some more plants of the Sensitive Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista nictitans) were also blooming, as were plants of the…
Tooth-leafed Croton (Croton grandulosus).
The trail in the open area was lined with plants of Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) in bloom. The flowers of this species are unusual, compared with other Lespedeza sp., in being white with purple ‘flashes’ on the standard petal. This species, a non-native species, is common along roadsides in many areas.
In the main woods, St. Andrews Cross (Hypericum hypericioides) plants were still blooming, as were…
Kudzu (Pueraria montana) vines. The ‘flash’ on the standard petal on these flowers was white, in contrast to the yellow flash I’d seen on other flowers.
The Bicolor Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) was still blooming a little further along the trail in the main woods. These plants have been blooming for many months.
On the log at the top of ‘The Hill,’ I found several small clusters of a slime mold fruiting bodies that I haven't been able to identify yet.
Nearby, I found a small puffball with spines. There are several Lycoperdon sp. of puffballs that have spines. This is either L. echinatum or L. pulcherrimum; probably L. echinatum based on its short stalk. It would be necessary, however, to examine the skin for scars when the spines fall off.
The fruit on the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) tree was still covered with mold but this didn’t appear to be affecting the fruit itself.
The Hairy Elephantfoot (Elephantopus tomentosus) plants in the dense patch just across the trail from the Tulip Poplar were still blooming.
From here, I made my way down to the end of the dam, where the Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) plants were still blooming.
(To be continued…)
- Kuo, M. Mushroom Expert.com: Lycoperdon pulcherrimum
- Summer On A Fort Yargo State Park Trail: Section B To The Dam, July 29th (Part 1)
- Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, May 1st (Part 2)