Friday, April 26, 2013

Ramp Cove Recap

Ramps as far as your eyes could see!  A virtual carpet of them covering the sides and floor of the cove lending their unique fragrance to the air around us.  That was the climax of our hike with Dan Rawlins on Tuesday the 23rd of April.

After fording Dismal Creek, we walked along next to it and were treated to a huge display of native plants.  We had lunch near a natural spring where Dan demonstrated the use of the LifeStraw.  "What is that?" you might ask.

"LifeStraw is a low-tech, low-hassle personal water filter that enables the user to simply stick one end into a water source of questionable cleanliness, such as a river, and suck."

"LifeStraw represents an amazing step towards a better world, where 43% of the global population, specially with low-income and living in rural parts of the developing world, is deprived of household safe piped water."

The entire day was a wonderful weaving of fine weather, excellent companionship, a diverse array of species and a bag of ramps to take home for dinner and/or breakfast.   It was also an excellent cardiovascular workout even though we only went 2.4 miles according to Dan.

Here is a list, compiled by the amazing Jean Hunnicutt with Dan Rawlins.  Following that are photos taken by the equally amazing David Fann and Karen Lawrence.  Enjoy!  Thanks to everyone for your contributions.

(In no particular order)
Pink Lady Slipper - 1 emerging          Cypripedium acaule
Rattlesnake Plantain                            pubescens
Cut-leaved Toothwort                         Dentaria laciniata
Robin’s Plantain / Fleabane                 Erigeron pulchellus
Slender Toothwort                              Dentaria heterophylla
Rue Anemone                                     Anemonlla thalictroides
Great Chickweed                                Stellaria pubera
Jack-in-the-Pulpit                                 triphyllum
Solomon’s Seal                                    biflorum
            Halberd-leaved                        Viola hastata
            Canada                                    Viola canadensis
            Long-spurred                          Viola rostrata
            + others
Foamflower                                         Tiarella cordifolia
Solomon’s Plume                                 Maianthemum racemosum
Twisted Stalk                                      Streptopus amplexifolius
Black Cohosh                                      Actaea racemosa
Blue Cohosh                                        Caulophyllum thalictroides
Hooked Buttercup                               Ranunculus recuratus
Vasey’s Trillium                                   Trillium vaseyi
Toad Trillium                                        Trillium sessile
Large-flowered Trillium                       Trillium grandiflorum
Yellow Mandarin                                 Disporum lanuginosum
Spring Beauty                                     Claytonia caroliniana
Dwarf Crested Iris                              Iris cristata
Bloodroot                                             Sanguinaria canadensis
Smartweed                                         Polygonum persicaria
Showy Orchids                                   Orchis spectabilis
Sweet Shrub                                       Calycanthus floridus
False Hellebore                                   Veratrum ciride
Yellowroot                                          Xanthorrhiza simplicissima
Squawroot                                          Conopholis americana
Trout Lily                                             Erythronium americanum
Perfoliate Bellwort                               Uvularia perfoliata
three species of bellwort, large-flower, sessile, and perfoliate
Early Meadow Rue                              Thalictrum dioicum
Sharp-lobed Hepatica                         Hepatica acutiloba
Clustered Snakeroot                           Sanicula gregaria
Wild Hydrangea                                   Hydrangea arborescens
Squirrel Corn                                       Dicentra canadensis
Dutchman’s Breeches                         Dicentra cucullaria
Mayapple                                             Podophyllum peltatum 
Umbrella Leaf                                      Diphylleia cymosa
RAMPS!                                               Allium tricoccum
indian cucumber root                            Medeola virginiana 

Maidenhair Fern                                  Adiantum pedatum                 
Rattlesnake Fern                                 Botryhium virginianum

Climb and attach to tree:
            Poison Ivy                                Rhus radicans
            Virginia Creeper                      Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Grow with the tree; do not attach:
            Grapevine                               Vitis
            Dutchman’s Pipe                      Aristolochia durior

Silverbell                                              Halesia tetraptera
Yellow Buckeye – huge                      Cladrastis kentukea
Tulip Poplar                                         Liriodendron tulipifera
Yellow wood                                      Cladrastis kentukea
Basswood tree                                   Tilia americana

Long-spurred violet (Viola rostrata)

Dutchman's Breeches; Dicentra cucullaria

Trout Lily; Erythronium umbilicatum

Wake Robin; Trillium erectum

Bear Corn/Squaw Root; Conopholis americana

Blue Cohosh; Caulophyllum thalictroides

Large-flowered Trillium; Trillium grandiflorum

Dutchman's Breeches

Twisted Stalk:  Streptopus roseus

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WNC Herbarium Visit

Whenever I heard about the Herbarium, I envisioned a huge greenhouse filled to overflowing with healthy and unusual herbs.  Imagine my confusion when the door opened unto several wooden cabinets filled with folders.  I thought to myself, "what is this?

Well, I was about to be enlightened and it was amazing!  The herbarium is a library of plant specimens gathered from all over this region.  The specimens are then mounted, labeled, dried and frozen (to kill any insects or bacteria) before  

I asked Dan what would be the most valuable part of the collection. Here is his reply:

"Most folks wouldn't value pressed plant specimens although each one probably costs about $5-10 to process and maintain properly.  If they were worth $10 each and we had 28,000, the value would be a significant quarter million!  Well, if the whole collection were to burn, that would really be an irreplaceable loss, mainly for the scientific documentation represented. The main difference between a regular library and a collection of specimens is the fact that they represent tangible materials that can be studied again with microscopes comparing directly with fresh materials.  And when we add a sample that can be tested for its DNA, this makes it an even more valuable to our scientists."

You might think that photographs would be an alternative for documenting plant specimens, like Dan said, you could not hold the specimen in your hand and turn it over and feel its texture the way you can with the physical item.

Kathy Matthews, Director and Curator of the Herbarium, shows us  the process.

Dan Pittillo's Nodding Trillium Garden Trip--Part 2

Here are more photos from Nodding Trillium Garden courtesy of Karen Lawrence.
Squirrel Corns

White Mandarin or Spotted Mandarin

Trillium erectum

Can you name this one?  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dan Pittillo's Nodding Trillium Garden Trip--Part 1

It was a distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to visit a garden that has been 40 years in the "making"--perhaps I should say "growing"!

The first thing to catch our eye as we approached, was the expanse of blue phlox traveling across the slope.

From there, we were treated to the sight of numerous wild native plants in various growing stages.  Kathy Matthews, WCU Herbarium Director and Curator, joined us for the tour. 

Dan explained that Nodding Trillium Garden, so named because of the relatively large population of Trillium rugelii.  The garden is located on a geologic sill with circumneutral soils and olivine outcrops.  

Here are a few photos of the numerous plants we saw in this fabulous garden.  There will be more photos in an upcoming post.  

Bishop's Cap 

Dicentra canadensis - Squirrel Corn 

Courtesy of Patricia K Howell-Allium Tricoccum - Ramps

Courtesy of Patricia K Howell Shortia Galacifolia - Oconee Bells

   Galearis spectabilis - Showy Orchid (PKH Photo)

   Asarum caudatum - Wild ginger with Canadian violets (PKH Photo)