A Day in the Life…Part 22

We have reached the last day of May and now the preserve is fully into the green and white period of the year. As soon as visitors walk down from the parking area, they will see this reflected in Lake Odonata. The surface of the pond is slowly closing as the water lilies leaves emerge and the large blossoms open.

Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)

Near the nature center and along the tops of the sandstone ridges, the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is now in full splendor.

Below the shrub Mock Orange (Philadelpus coronarius) flourishes along the sunny edges. This plant is an example of a native to southern Europe that was introduced to Wahkeena during Carmen Warner’s occupation. This shrub earned its name because of the slight citrus scent given off by the flowers.

Mock Orange Close up

Below is another introduced species that is much less desirable than the one above. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) was first introduced to North American in the early to mid 1800’s for erosion control and as a root stock for ornamental roses. In the 1930’s it was promoted as “The Living Fence” as farmers were encouraged to plant it along the edges of their fields and pastures. But… Someone in the Department of Agriculture forgot to tell the birds to poop in straight lines along the field edges and it quickly became an unwanted invasive species!

The next picture is Southern Arrowwood (Vibrunum dentatum). This shrub is native to the area and grows in moist habitats. The common name refers to the use of the straight stems by native peoples to making arrow shafts.
Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) is also in bloom in the sunny areas of the preserve and will later provide a treat for many types of wildlife and humans as well.
Common Blackberry

The young Sassafras tree below has a stem that looks a lot like Spotted Joe- Pye Weed, a tall summer flower. As the tree matures the green stem will give way to a orange-brown bark

Sassafras  (Sassafra albidum)

Another “greenie” is the Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium). This Jack-in-the-pulpit relative has a concealed flower at the base of an enclosed structure called a spathe. The slender yellow structure is called a spadix and is a mechanism to encourage pollinator’s access to the hidden flowers.

The spectacular flowers of the Catalpa trees, seen below, are blooming at the pond edge and in other moist habitats.
Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
Adding a faint splash of color, our fourth native orchid is now in prime blooming condition. The Large Twayblade (Liparis lilifolia) is found in multiple locations along the Shelter Trail. “Tway” means two and refers to the twin basal leaves of the plant.
This post was a little late this week because we have a new blogger.
“Hey, what happened to the mouse?”
Posted by the Wahkeena Crew

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