Groundcedar, Diphasiastrum digitatum Family: Lycopodiaceae
This clubmoss has scaly, evergreen leaves and usually stand no more than 2 feet off the ground. While researching this clubmoss, I found that its distribution correlates to Jane Forsyth’s findings on geobotany. Groundcedar prefers upland woodlands and sandstone cliffs, matching the type of habitat at Deep Woods where it was found. I also discovered that when it resides in a woodland habitat, it is found near conifer and oak trees which correlates to the habitat seen at Deep Woods. Groundcedar is known to grow best in acidic soils near edges, which demonstrate Forsyth’s findings about the eastern side of Ohio (acidic soils, low nutrients).
An interesting tidbit I discovered about Diphasiastrum digitatum is that its spores are extremely flammable due to the high oil content!
Juniper polytrichum moss, Polytrichum juniperinum Family: Polytrichaaceae
Polytrichum juniperinum is a dimorphic moss that can occupy a wide range if habitats. The leaves of this moss are densely located along the entire stem and spread widely when moist and more erect when they are dry. While researching this moss I found that it also fit into the descriptions of Forsyth’s article. For instance, Illinois Wildflowers states “the preference is full sun to light shade, moist to dry conditions, and an acidic mineral soil containing gravel and/or sand”. This description fits into the geobotany findings that Forsyth discovered for the eastern, unglaciated region of Ohio. Juniper polytrichum moss is found in open woody uplands which perfectly matches where this picture was taken at Deep Woods (right off the trail on our first hike where there were oaks on one side and the other side of the trail started to slope downwards).
OTHER PLANTS AT DEEP WOODS
Blue lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica Family: Campanulaceae
This 5-petaled, alternate leaf arrangement flower is apart of the bell flower family and can produce blue, white, and purple flowers. This flower is expected to be found in areas with moist soil or near a stream, in partially acidic soils. The plant can grow best in clay, loam, or sandy soils and prefers moderate shade. All characteristics align with Forsyth’s article and demonstrate the accuracy of the Forsyth’s geobotany article.
Northern maidenhair, Adiantum pedatum Family: Pteridaceae
This cool looking fern can usually be found in woody slopes, ravine bottoms, and moist shady under-story. Deep Woods encompassed most of its preferred habitat including more acidic, moist soils and shady slopes. If I remember correctly this fern was found near a ravine bottom in Deep Woods which differs from the flat glaciated western part of Ohio where Maidenhair most likely would not grow.
Roundlobe hepatica, Hepatica nobilis Family: Ranunculaceae
Hepactica nobilis can bloom in a variety of colors including pink, blue, white and purple. This plant has dark green leaves that look like 3 leaves fused together. The distribution and preferences for this flower align with the acidic, sandstone conditions of southeastern Ohio. It prefers soils that are greater than 6.8, though it can survive in slightly less acidity. It grows in semi- to full shade environments and is extremely drought tolerant (though growing in more moist soil in Deep Woods).
Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis Family: Campanulaceae
This pretty perennial is native to the U.S and can reach heights of up to 4-5 feet. This plant, just as all the others in this assignment, prefers slightly acidic soils and partial shade. However, it grows best in wet soils and can tolerate a bit of flooding! I believe this flower was found in more of a valley than upland habitat, which correlates with its wet soil preference. Interestingly, the “cardinal flower” can be found in rose and white colors too!
The research group discovered what originally was thought to be two separate species (V. appalachiana & V. graminifolia) could surprisingly be just one species. I would also add that the plant is not the product of hybridization, as the researcher’s findings demonstrate. The team also discovered that the assumption that current populations are sustained via long distance dispersal are incorrect due to the allozyme studies, so I would change that aspect about the description.
The location of the Appalachian Gametophyte that we saw in Deep Woods was in a sandstone cave on the inner walls. There was some exposure to sunlight, and the gametophyte was growing on much of the sandstone. There was access to moisture and the cave created a small cliff-like structure above it.
CEDAR BOG FIELD TRIP
A marsh is a type of wetland area that grows mostly grasses, cattails and sedges. The marsh I visited along Darby Creek Drive certainly fits the definition of a marsh, seeing as it was dominated by tall grasses and cattails. The marsh was lacking woody plants, though a few smaller trees could be found throughout the wetland region. Some larger trees could be seen in the distance and appeared to be some species of oak (Quercus). The species featured above is Big bluestem Andropogon gerardii, family Poaceae.
The prairie region of Battelle Darby Park was extensive and included tall grasses and forbs. There are few large woody plants in a prairie usually having less than 1 tree per acre. The tallgrass prairie I visited was full of Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans, family Poales (featured in the picture on the right with a large bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, on the left). Many Ohio prairies have unfortunately been destroyed as a result of expanding agriculture.
Cedar Bog… or maybe Fen?
A fen is a type of wetland that receives its water from underground water up-flow and tends to have soil rich in nutrients. A bog receives its abundance of water via rainfall and has low oxygen levels, therefore slowing decomposition making the water cold and acidic. But wait! Cedar Bog gets its water from underground up-flow so technically Cedar Bog should really be Cedar… Fen?
I was tasked with finding two sedge meadow plants and to my surprise there was a whole area devoted to them. Also, very interesting, sedge meadows are one of the most critical habitats found in Cedar B- … Cedar Fen because of its open sunlight and up-flow of cool water. The first plant is smooth saw-grass, Cladium mariscoides family Cyperaceae (above). It has alternate leaves and the flowers are either compact or in open branching clusters. Its preferred habitat is high quality fens, which happens to be particularly prone to destruction for agriculture.
The second sedge meadow plant I found was cotton grass Eriophorum angustifolium also family Cyperaceae (also above). This sedge family member has a round or triangular cross-section and the fruit is the seed surrounded by many white bristles. Alaskan Native Americans used the roots and seeds for food and the stems for weaving their mats.