Marsh, Prairie and Fen

MARSH.

The marsh we visited along Darby Creek Drive was a wetland mostly full of herbaceous plant species. However, there were still dominant woody plants such as Eastern Cottonwood, Willow, and Sycamore trees. Some dominant herbaceous plants included: American Firewort, Red Clover, Cat Tail, and many types of grasses and sedges.

(pictured above: Red Clover Trifolium pratense)

PRAIRIE.

The Battelle Darby Metro Park prairie we visited consisted mostly of restored tall grass and shrubs as a part of a temperate grassland ecosystem. It was an open community dominated by grass, having less than one tree per acre. However we saw one dominant woody plant, the Bur Oak tree. There were many dominant herbaceous plants observed including: Jewelweed, Pasture Thistle, False White Indigo, Sawtooth Sunflower, Indian grass, Prairie Dock, and (Big Bluestem) Turkey Foot.

(above: Stiff Goldenrod Solidago rigida)

(above: Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa)

CEDAR BOG THAT ISN’T A BOG.

Cedar Bog is not necessarily a bog in terms of its hydrology, it may be more in line with the workings of a fen. This is because a fen is more like a flushing toilet where water enters as rain and/or through springs and then small streams drain the fen, flushing the system. Additionally the fen groundwater contains dissolved limestone which makes the water basic, allowing plants like sedges to grow.  In comparison a bog is like a clogged bathtub where water enters as rain but only gets removed by evaporation thus leaving dead and decaying plants to pile up on the bottom making the water acidic and stained brown. Cedar Bog’s attributes align more with that of a fen than a bog. In addition Cedar Bog is located in the once glaciated part of Ohio, leaving a large amount of cold ground water which is now forced to the surface at the low spot in the valley, forming current-day Cedar Bog.

“Scavenger Hunt” Assignment:

Two Monocots

  1. above: Turkey Foot Andropogon gerardi
    1. How to recognize: Each raceme has a pair of spikelets, making the inflorescence somewhat resemble a turkey’s foot.
    2. Outside fact: Turkey Foot is being seriously considered as a potential feedstock for renewable energy/ethanol production due to its high biomass. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andropogon_gerardi

2. adove: Sedge (Sedge Meadow) Family= Cyperaceae

How to recognize: Their stems have triangular cross-sections, and their leaved are arranged spirally in three ranks.

Outside fact: Some common sedges including the Water Chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) and the Papyrus Sedge (Cyperus papyrus) were used by the Ancient Egyptians to make writing materials.

 

HOCKING HILLS

 

 

The geology differed at Deep Woods compared to Cedar “Bog” by its acidic, low nutrient soil and sandstone. This geology was created when the Teays River blocked SouthEastern Ohio from being glaciated, now the East consists of steep sandstone hills and valleys.

 

(above) Sourwood Tree Oxydendrum arboreum

  • a small tree/large shrub
  • leaves: alternately arranged, finely serrated
  • juice from its blooms is used to make sourwood jelly

 

(right) Interrupted Fern Osmunda claytoniana

  • heteromorphic, bipinnate fronds, fertile leaflets
  • “Interrupted” describes the gap in middle of the blade left by the fertile portions after they wither and fall off.

 

 

 

 

 

(left) Beech drop Epifagus virginiana

  • does not produce chlorophyll
  •  a parasitic plant that grows and lives off the roots of the American beech

 

 

 

 

Index Card Assignment: Three Forms of Lichen

  1. Dixie Reindeer Lichen
  • Fruticose type lichens are upright like tiny trees or can hang down like miniature vines. This lichen has rounded grey-green cushions, other Ohio Reindeer lichens are coarser and of slightly different colors.
  • The Alaskan native people, the Inland Dena’ina, boil reindeer lichen and drink the juice as a medicine for diarrhea.

 

2. Common Script Lichen Graphis scripta

  • This lichen prefers to grow on smooth hard bark such as maple or hickory and was named for the dark apothecia marks which look like scribbles.
  • It is the only crustose lichen with linear apothecia found in Ohio.

 

 

 

3. Powdered Ruffle Lichen Parmotrema hypotropum

  • This foliose type lichen has large rounded lobes that stand up. There are sixteen species of ruffle lichens in Ohio, but this one is the only one with a white zone on the underside of the lobes.
  • You can find this lichen from the Southeastern US to Texas. It is scattered in Ohio but commonly found in the southern half. Also, it is almost exclusively on bark.

 

New distinctive botanical feature:

Appalachian gametophyte– does not produce sporophytes, reproduces by vegetative means using detachable gemmae.