Aisle of View

Sunday we walked the property of VNPS Pocahontas Chapter President Catharine Tucker in Hanover County. Her 70 acres have seen little farming disturbance over the last 150 years, and hence are one of our better representatives of mesic hardwood forest in the upper Coastal Plain. The fall zone runs through Richmond, and this part of Hanover County is northeast of Richmond.

good morningOn the state road leading to her land, Catharine pointed out Red Morning-Glory, or Redstar (Ipomoea coccinea) growing in a hedge managed for butterflies. There seems to be some question as to whether Ipomoea is native to this part of the country.

Catharine effectively used the subsiding road cut to illustrate the soil profile: a sandy horizon lying atop red clays.

big treeThe bulk of the property is a Beech-Tuliptree forest, with some magnificent examples of Fagus grandifolia. Our group measured around one tree, computing a DBH of 110 cm. And with beeches come the parasitic Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana)—plentiful here, but difficult to photograph with a point-and-shoot.

hiding in plain sightOur destination plant was Shining Clubmoss (Huperzia lucidula), found in one small clump at the base of a tree. This fern ally is kin to the more often-seen Lycopodium ground pines.

Bonus local common name: Catharine calls Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) May Pops—although Google thinks that this name goes better with Passiflora incarnata.