A Day in the Life…Part 47

It’s been another pretty quiet week around the nature center…

 

and back in along the wooded trails of the preserve.
The forest floor is dominated now by the dark evergreen Christmas Fern.
Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) is by far the most common fern in the area. The name implies the past use of this plant as a Christmas decoration.
Others parts of the forest floor are covered with another evergreen – ¬†Southern Ground Cedar ¬†(Diphasiastrum digitatum). The yellow structures are called strobili- this is where the reproductive spores are produced. If you give them a tap, you will release a “cloud” of light yellow spores when they are mature.
A plant I have mentioned before, but always nice to see in the now barren landscape, is the Downy Rattlesnake Plantain- a common evergreen orchid.
The not so green thing above is an oak apple gall. The gall was formed when a wasp laid her egg in an oak leave and the oak responded to the “invasion” by creating the gall. The gall provides a safe environment for the developing wasp larva to grow in. The small hole is an indication that the former occupant (the wasp) has” left the building.”
In preparing for this post the first snow of November 2015 began to fall. The somewhat granular crystals began to accumulated on cold surfaces- like the American Holly leaves above.
By the time I got back to the nature center the snow had frosted the roof and with frosty fingers it was time to head inside and enjoy the warm geothermal heat!
Happy Thanksgiving to all who follow this post. I am truly thankful that I get to experience the beauty and wonders of this special place.
Posted by TS

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