Blue Ridge forests

readysimply redOur first class field trip, examining forest ecosystems of the mid-Atlantic, visited three spots in Shenandoah National Park. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) (left) was in fruit in Buck Hollow, on the flank of the Blue Ridge. And up top, we found Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) (right) likewise offering red yummies; the holly’s fruits have four seeds each.

Katydids were singing at mid-day, clearly understanding that “last call” was imminent. On the Stony Man Nature Trail (which I last walked in May), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) was blooming like crazy. We also made the acquaintance of Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), a milkweed of the woods, and Mountain Maple (Acer spicata), which looks like Striped Maple without the stripy bark.

I scooped up a American Carrion Beetle (Necrophila americana) for everyone to admire. And Stephanie identified a trio of Table Mountain Pine trees (Pinus pungens) across Skyline Drive from the Stony Man Overlook parking area. I’d like to make a map of everywhere P. pungens can be found in the Park.