Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Get to the Point

Back in September I headed down to the Fort Erie area, specifically Point Abino.  Alongside summer vacation homes, Point Abino is home to an interesting mix of habitats including dunes, coastal meadow marsh, bedrock pavements along the shoreline and nice areas of forest.

If you spend much time in meadow marsh habitat you get familiar with a diversity of sedges and rushes.  The one below is Common Three-square (Schoenoplectus pungens).  This stand was in an area which a local told us had once been a vast expanse of meadow marsh prior to development and boat traffic.  Wild Rice (Zizania spp.) was once rather abundant here.

Clammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra) is sticky to the touch as the name suggests.  I found the smell of the oily substance to have the odour of diesel fuel.  This species is largely found in beach habitats but can also occur inland on gravelly bluffs and other similar habitats.

Another beach species, Sandbur (Cenchrus longispinus) is one you definitely know when it's stuck in your socks!

A Bugseed (Corispermum spp.), of which Niagara has a few.
Winged Pigweed (Cycloloma atriplicifolium) was a new one for me.  The small saucer-like flowers cover much of the plant.

The rain pounded and the wind

The point is home to Niagara Region's only population of Sand Cherry (Prunus pumila).

An iconic (and uncommon) wildflower of Lake Erie coastal marsh habitats, Swamp Rose-Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos).  When in flower the large, pink hibiscus flowers are hard to miss.

The uncommon Pringle's Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei).
I rarely pass up a photo of Kalm's Lobelia (Lobelia kalmii).  Patches of the light purple flowers were in bloom here and there along the lakeside bedrock pavements.

How about that.  The one and only extant population of Kalm's St. John's-wort (Hypericum kalmianum) in all of Niagara Region.  That's it, everything in the frame of this photo.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) fruits had turned a deep red.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Slightly Hirsute Sedge

This summer I came across a sedge I had never encountered before.  One of those which immediately upon seeing it, is clearly something weird and different.

I didn't identify it in the field, rather I resorted to one of my favourite evening activities, surrounding myself with books and a microscope and hashing it out.

With a bit of paging through my resources to find an ID and later corresponding with Mike Oldham and Tony Reznicek, sure enough I had found Slightly Hirsute Sedge (Carex hirsutella), listed as S3 (Vulnerable) in Ontario.  Now, this name doesn't have the punch of say Mad Dog Skullcap or Bastard Toadflax, but it certainly is blatantly descriptive.

Below are a few shots I took (don't worry, there's still lots of plant left at the site).

Moving into the fall I'll be doing some invasive brush cutting at a couple of savannah/woodland sites in Waterloo Region over the next couple of weeks, maybe I'll set up a time lapse to capture that.