Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, April 17th (Part 1)

April 17th. 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. On a previous walk on April 12th, the leaves of the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids were starting to bloom and was surprised to find several Smallflower Pawpaw (Asimina parviflora).


We had a windy storm in the day or so previous to this walk that had brought down another tree limb. I found several lichens that were fruiting.

There were a number of Amber Jelly fungus, Exidia recisa, along the limb.

The woods were becoming increasingly green and more shaded.

Now that they were leafing out, I found several more Smallflower Pawpaw plants along the trail approaching the ‘Christmas Fern grove.’ Most didn’t have flowers.

I found an old Blackberry Knot Gall on a blackberry cane.

This Pipsissewa/Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) at the edge of the trail was setting blooms.

A view along the lake shore, and…

starting the climb up ‘The Hill.’

The Smallflower Pawpaw at the top of The Hill still had one good flower.

More importantly, some of the flowers appeared to have been fertilized. Some of the flowers had several fruit beginning to develop; this particular flower had four fruit. It will be interesting to see how far they develop on this small bush.

The Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) was still putting on leaves, and when I poked around on the left side of the tree, I found several…

flower buds forming.

I continued around to the dam. Given the amount of rain we had recently, I was curious about the water level. Just over 24 feet, the highest this season. 

Water was pouring out the outlet. The woods below the dam were now green and the Princess Tree (Pawlonia tomentosa) just to the right of the outlet was in bloom. 

As I turned to go back to the trail, I spotted a Mountain Azalea (Rhododendron canescens) blooming along the lake shore. 
To be continued… 

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