Grasses and Sedges

Greater bladder sedge (Carex intumescens)


Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata)

Plant-Animal Interactions (Seed Dispersal) 

Lesser burdock (Arctium minus): This plant species has developed hooks attached to their seeds. These hooks will attach to animals that brush up against them and then fall off a distance from the original plant and if all goes well grow into a new plant.

Hickory (Carya): Hickories, like many other nut producing plants, will rely on animals to help disperse their seeds. Species such as squirrels will bury nuts to save for consumption later, but if they fail to recover the nuts they can germinate and grow into a new tree.

Invasive Species

Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata): Autumn Olive is a deciduous shrub native to China, Korea, and Japan. This species was introduced to the United States in 1830 and throughout the 1950’s was recommended for planting in recovering habitats for its ability to grow in unfavorable sights, stop erosion, and produce habitat. Unfortunately it quickly became clear that this nonnative species got out of hand and began to invade other sites and dominate the local fauna.  Due to its nitrogen-fixing root nodules the species can grow on almost any site. It can out compete local species by creating a dense shade that stops sunlight from reaching other plants and spreads quickly, producing up to 200,000 seeds in a single year. Control methods such as cutting or burning can have a negative effect as the shrub germinates very easily which leads to the shrub spreading. The best way to deal with autumn olive is to pulling autumn olive seedlings or removing the plant before seeding will prevent further spread. If the shrub is larger enough then it can be cut, removed, and have herbicide applied to the stump from winter to summer.

Butterweed (Packera glabella):  Butterweed is Native to North America, but the species is still invasive in many areas where it is found. The plant can out compete many of the other native flowers, taking over large portions of roadsides, pastures, and meadows. The real issue comes when butterweed appears in areas where livestock is grazing as it is toxic to most species. The species creates several wind spread seeds making removal of the species after fruiting more difficult. To remove successfully it is best to mechanically pull the plant before fruiting has occurred. Pesticides can be used but due to some resilience to common pesticides and years of application many of the specimens have grown very capable of surviving after pesticide is applied.


Acrocarp with tongue shaped leaves

Saber tooth moss (Plagiomnium ciliare)

This moss was located on a rotting log of a red pine. The log was in a cool shaded area that looked to stay moist for a large portion of the year. I believe this is the Plagiomnium ciliare because it is an acrocarp with tongue shaped leaves, has a single teeth, and are this species is know to grow in this type of habitat.

Pleurocarp with costate lance leaves

Tangled thread moss (Amblystegium varium)

This moss was found on a red pine log lying right next to the log that held the saber tooth moss. Again this area was damp and shaded in a red pine stand. I believe this moss to be Amblystegium varium because it is a pleurocarp with costate lance leaves that tapper at the tips and are broad at the base. This moss is commonly found in this type of habitat.


Dryopteris cathusiana

Bipinnate, smooth, toothed with teeth that end in a sharp point, pinnae ascending

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

Once pinnate, deeply pinnatifid, rachis winged, found in open wet areas

Threats to Trees

Dutch Elm Disease: This dying American elm is most likely a victim of Dutch Elm Disease. This disease entered the United States in 1931 when infected elm logs were shipped to Cleveland, Ohio from France. This pathogen is caused by a fungus that fills the vascular tissues of the tree preventing movement of water. To successfully save elms from this disease then at risk individuals must be treated prior to infection. Trunk injections and proper pruning of branches can help to save trees, but these must be done regularly. Infected trees should be harvested and removed to inhibit the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.

Emerald Ash Borer: This dead ash tree is another victim of the emerald ash borer,  Agrilus planipennis, epidemic that is taking place all over eastern North America. The larvae, not the adults, of this Asian species are the culprits guilty of the wide spread damage. After hatching from eggs laid inside of the tree the larvae  will feed on the inner bark inhibiting the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree. Soil and trunk injections are available but must be administered on a regular basis. Experiments with selective breading, genetic modifications, and introduction of native predators are being tested.


Northern Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum): Deciduous, opposite, simple, toothed leaves. Round leaves with slight heart shape at base. Twigs and leaves hairless and lacking stipules. The berries of this shrub are eaten regularly by native species such as ruffed grouse and chipmunck. Native Americans would use the wood when making arrow shafts.

Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) pg 79: Deciduous, opposite, simple, leaves without teeth. Central end buds present with four or more blunt scales. Flowers are small and white in cone shaped clusters. Common privet is native to northeastern Europe and can grow up to 15 ft tall. The fruit is commonly consumed by song and game birds.