Some thoughts abouts plants in Pennsylvania and anywhere else we travel

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Muhlenberg Botanic Club of Lancaster, PA

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All photographs copyright by Mike Slater unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recording Precipitation and sharing the data

We have been rocording the daily precipitation every day since May of 1992 in a precision rain gauge. Just in the last two months I have begun to participate in a nationwide online reporting scheme called CoCoRaHS short for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

It is easy to report your rain gauge reading ( to the nearest 0.01 inch) each morning and then go look at the other data in the area. or across the USA.

Our yard is Station Number : PA-BR-16 and our Station Name is : Mohnton 2.8 SSW we are in Berks County, PA

The Daily Precipitation Report fo Pennsylvania is usually interesting or you may find the map more informative. You can do searching by date, calander period, County or individual locations.

The Program is coordinated by PSU's State Climatologist under a program called Frost.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Muhlenberg Bulletin and upcoming Meetings and field trips.











The Muhlenberg Bulletin for September 2009 has been published.


The PDF file is here.

Note:
The Next Meeting is Thursday September 17 at 7:30pm. and the field trip to the Pocono till Barrens has been changed to Sunday September 20.

September 17 Meeting : Members' Night and Plant Exchange
Bring pictures, slides, or a digital show to share; we will have a laptop and digital projector set, as well as the traditional projector. The highlight will be the plants members bring—ones for which they need to find new homes (don't hesitate to take plants even if you don't bring any!).

September 20 Field Trip, Sunday Pocono Till Barrens
Joint field trip with the Philadelphia Botanical Club and Muhlenberg Botanical Society.
The Pocono till barrens, together with adjoining wetlands, forests and ridgetop barrens, hosts 125 species on the state’s endangered, threatened and rare list, 12 of which are imperiled globally. More than 8 square miles of native heathlands scattered along 30 miles of the Pocono Plateau’s southern rim are remnants of a landscape managed for centuries by American Indians using fire. We will explore a dwarf-shrub savanna dominated by lowbush blueberry, sheep-laurel, scrub oak and rhodora, with scattered pitch pine, witherod, black chokeberry, gray birch, red spruce and four juneberry species. Among many likely plant sightings are
Amianthium muscaetoxicum, Calamagrostis cinnoides, Carex polymorpha, Cornus canadensis, Dalibarda repens, Gentiana linearis, Glyceria obtusa, Lycopodium hickeyi, Piptatherum racemosum, Platanthera blephariglottis and Solidago puberula. We will examine results of barrens restoration and management through the use of prescribed burning by The Nature Conservancy. Those who choose to accompany the trip leader on an optional 2-mile hike will also see northern hardwoods forest, conifer swamp, several types of shrub swamp, and Long Pond, an undammed glacial lake.

If you wish to do some background reading on the Pocono glacial till barrens, the flora and ecology of this unique ecosystem are described in several articles, including Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club (1996) vol. 123, pp. 330-349, and Forest Ecology and Management (2003) vol. 185, pp. 21-39.

Meet at 10 a.m. at the Hauser Nature Center (The Nature Conservancy’s Pocono Mountains office) in the village of Long Pond, Monroe County. From there we will carpool 4 miles to the trailhead. Pack your lunch and wear shoes suitable for wet walking.

Directions: Leave I-80 at exit 284 (7 miles east of the interchange with the turnpike, I-476).
Take Pa. 115 south 3.1 miles and turn left onto Long Pond Road (at Pocono Raceway sign).
Drive 2.7 miles to the Hauser Nature Center, on the left just past the firehouse and post office.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I have been taking pictures of butterflies

In the last several years I have gotten quite interested in Skippers and Butterflies. I am especially intrigued with their very close evolutionary relationships with the plants that females recognize and caterpillars will eat.

The butterfly on the top is a Horace's Skipper, in the middle is a Spicebush Swallowtail and on the bottom is a Common Woodnymph. The rest of my pictures are here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Muhlenberg Botanical Society Summer Field Trips

Update: The September Pocono Till Barrens trip date is being changed. See Below.

Muhlenberg Meadow, July 11 Saturday 12:00 noon
Started in 1991, this restoration project spearheaded by Tim Draude and the Muhlenberg
Botanical Society has expanded to five acres. Come and view the wide array of field flowers and what techniques worked and didn’t work in turning a cornfield into a dazzling native ecosystem.
From Lancaster, go south on Rte. 222/272 for about 0.5 miles past the point where the north and south lanes rejoin. Turn left onto Golf Rd. and go about 0.6 miles to the intersection with Exhibit Farm Rd The parking area is a few hundred feet past Exhibit Farm Rd. The sign for the meadow is up against the tree line and not easily visible from the road. Park on the grass in front of the sign. Leader: Joan King


Fulshaw Craeg Preserve, Montgomery County,
Sunday, July 26, meet at the North Museum at 7:30 AM
Joint field trip, Philadelphia Botanical Club and Muhlenberg Botanical Society.
A limestone meadow and woods. Including Dirca palustri(leatherwood), Lilium canadense(Canada lily), Plox maculata (wild sweet William), Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod) & Chamaeliriumluteum (devil's bit). We will meet at the North Museum at 7:30 AM to carpool to this preserve as parking is limited. We will gather at a Gulf gas station for further consolidation.
Prepare for wet walking. There is a stream crossing using rocks. From Lancaster:
Rte. 23 East
Rte. 100 North
Rte. 73 East
Rte. 29 North
Rte. 63 East
I think the best meeting place is a Gulf station on highway 63 near where we turn off onto highway 563 (Ridge Road). The address is 2073 Sumneytown Pike in Woxall. Basically, it's 0.1 mile east (or, more precisely, southeast) of the 63/563 intersection. It's on the left if you're westbound on 63.

To continue to the preserve:
From Rte. 63 go 2 miles; turn left onto Rte. 563 North Turn left at stop sign to stay on Rte. 563 North/Ridge Rd.
Go 1.3 mile and turn left onto King Rd. Go 0.7 mi and park near red metal gate. Two
parking spaces in front of gate and 4-5 more along the side of the road.

To go directly to the preserve: type 124 King Rd. Green Lane, PA, 18054-2332 into Google maps. From Ridge Rd. turn left onto King Rd. (portions unpaved.) go 0.7 miles and park near red metal gate on the left. There are two parking spaces in front of gate and 4-5 more along the side of the road. . The address given is the closest address to the preserve. Please do not park at 124 King Rd. You will see the Preserve sign just past 124.

Trail rating: moderate; bring your own bag lunch to carry on the trail.
Leaders: Joan King Ph: 717-284-5239 jsking1@lycos.com
& Janet Novak, Philadelphia Botany Club


Michaux State Forest, Adams County, August 29 Saturday
A wetland walk, prepare for wet feet.
Walk rating: easy; bring your own bag lunch.
We will lunch at the cars
Meeting place: TBA
Meeting time: TBA
Leader: John Kunsman, botanist with the Pa. Natural Diversity Inventory

Pocono Till Barrens, September 20, 2009 This trip is bein rescheduled due to a conflict with a NASCAR Race at the Nearby Pocono Raceway!
Joint fieldtrip, Philadelphia Botanical Club and Muhlenberg Botanical Society
The ecology of the Pocono Till Barren's was wonderfully described to us by Dr. Roger Latham in a talk last fall. Now Dr. Latham will show us the the Pocono till barrens, together with adjoining wetlands, forests and ridgetop barrens. The area hosts 125 species on the state’s endangered, threatened and rare list, 12 of which are imperiled globally. More than 8 square miles of native heathlands scattered along 30 miles of the Pocono Plateau’s southern rim are remnants of a landscape managed for centuries by American Indians using fire. We will explore a dwarf-shrub savanna dominated by lowbush blueberry, sheep-laurel, scrub oak and rhodora, with scattered pitch pine, witherod, black chokeberry, gray birch, red spruce and four juneberry species. Among many likely plant sightings are Amianthium muscaetoxicum, Calamagrostis cinnoides, Carex polymorpha, Cornus canadensis, Dalibarda repens, Gentiana linearis, Glyceria obtusa, Lycopodium hickeyi, Piptatherum racemosum, Platanthera blephariglottis and Solidago puberula. We will examine results of barrens restoration and management by The Nature Conservancy using prescribed burning. Those who choose to accompany the trip leader on an optional 2-mile hike will also see northern hardwoods forest, conifer swamp, several types of shrub swamp, and Long Pond, an undammed glacial lake.

Meet at 10 a.m. at the Hauser Nature Center (The Nature Conservancy’s Pocono
Mountains office) in the village of Long Pond, Monroe County.
From there we will carpool 4 miles to the trailhead. Pack your lunch. Wear shoes suitable for wet walking.

Directions:
Leave I-80 at exit 284 (7 miles east of the interchange with the turnpike, I-476).
Take Pa. 115 south 3.1 miles and turn left onto Long Pond Road (at Pocono Raceway
sign).
Drive 2.7 miles to the Hauser Nature Center, on the left just past the firehouse and post
office.
If you wish to do some background reading on the Pocono glacial till barrens, the flora
and ecology of this unique ecosystem are described in several articles, including Bulletin
of the Torrey Botanical Club (1996) vol. 123, pp. 330-349, and Forest Ecology and
Management (2003) vol. 185, pp. 21-39.

also a Possible trip on the next day (Sunday September 27) to Tannersville Bog.
This unique bog ecosystem is the southernmost low elevation boreal bog in the United
States.
Trail rating: Moderate; bring your own bag lunch.
Leaders: Dr. Roger Latham & Dr. Ann Rhoads
Roger Latham (office: 610-565-3405, rel@continentalconservation.us; cell phone to call
only on the morning of the fieldtrip: 484-682-9648)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Muhlenberg Botanic Society Upcoming Field Trips - Spring 2009


The following is the Field trip schedule through June 2009

List of trips. See below for more deatail and directions.
  1. Saturday, April 18: Trout Run Nature Preserve 10:00 AM
  2. Sunday, April 19, 2009 1:00 PM FIELD TRIP the Mengel Natural History Club State Game Lands #52
  3. Saturday, May 9: Walnut Run 10:00 AM
  4. Saturday, June 13: Goat Hill 10:00 AM
Details of the 2009 SPRING FIELD TRIPS:
For those whose obligations do not allow them to participate for the entire day in the case of all-day field trips, you are welcome to join us for just the morning half (or the afternoon half, if that can be arranged). For all-day trips, bring a bag lunch.

Saturday, April 18: Trout Run Nature Preserve 10:00 AM
Located in Martic Township, Trout Run is a 123-acre nature preserve comprised of mature forested areas and the Trout Run stream corridor.

From Lancaster City, take PA Route 272 (Willow Street Pike) south through Willow Street to Smithville. Just past Frey's Evergreen Plantation on the left and before the large stone arch railroad bridge over the highway, turn right on Pennsy Road. Follow Pennsy for approximately one mile, then turn left on Kreider Road. At the stop sign, proceed straight and cross over a bridge spanning the old low-grade rail line. At the next intersection, bear right on Rawlinsville Road; continue for approximately one mile, then turn right at the fork onto Stump Road. Follow Stump Road for approximately 1 ¼ miles. The well-marked parking lot is on the left (south) side. The trailhead starts further down Stump Road on the right. It is an old road next to the large Steinman Run Nature Preserve sign. Trail rating: moderate.
Trip leader: Joan King: Jsking1@lycos.com or 717-284-5239


Sunday, April 19, 2009 1:00 PM FIELD TRIP by the Mengel Natural History Club
"Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers" -- State Game Lands 52
Among the Diabase boulders at the headwaters of Black Creek are many beautiful spring woodland wild flowers. The public is welcome.
(Note: the walking is somewhat rough and some hopping among the small boulders will be needed. Also tick spray is highly reccomended.)


Directions. From Lancaster take Rte 222 North past the PA Turnpike to the Adamstown/Knauers exit. (Follow the signs to Maple Grove Park Drag Strip) Go east on PA 568 to through Knauers (straight at the traffic light) one more mile to Alleghenyville. Bear right at the Church on Alleghenyville Road. Follow Alleghenyville rod as it winds by the creek and as the road starts uphill go straight and stay on Alleghenyville Road (don't bear left on Kramer Road or right on Schlouch Rd. corrections and additions in bold)). Go about 2 miles and turn right on Maple Grove Rd. Follow Maple grove Road straight past Maple Grove Park (There are 2 stops signs) and on up over the hill stay left on Maple Grove Road at the top of the hill, past Yellow Hill Road and on down the other side (The road name becomes Edwards Road as you cross back into Lancatesr County but there are no signs up on the hill. . Park in the large gravel parking lot at the bottom on the left. If you cross Black Creek and the PA turnpike you have gone to far.

or

You can also come east on PA Rte 23 to Churchtown and go north from there on Hammertown Road and then bear left on Edwards road and follow it until just after you cross the turnpike and the parking lot will be on the left.



Leaders: Ryan Woolwine & Mike Slater (610) 775-3757 mslater@voicenet.com


Saturday, May 9: Walnut Run 10:00 AM
This is a mixed hardwood forest on diabase soil; we should see yellow ladyslippers,
violets, etc.
From Lancaster, go north on Rt. 501. At Rt. 322 turn left, and go about 5 miles. Park on
the right side of the road at an unmarked gated dirt road. If you see the Game
Commission's gravel parking lot on the left side of the road, you've gone too far. Trail
rating: moderate.
Trip leader: Joan King: Jsking1@lycos.com or 717-284-5239


Saturday, June 13: Goat Hill 10:00 AM

Among the rare plants found at Goat Hill are the long-hairy barrens chickweed, the
serpentine aster, prairie dropseed, and round-leaved fameflower. Goat Hill also hosts a
diverse fern community, including marginal shield, hay scented, Christmas, interrupted,
and maidenhair. In addition, a wide variety of southern plants reach their northernmost
extremes here.
From Lancaster, go south on Rt. 272 to Wakefield. At Wakefield turn left, continuing on Rt. 272. Go about 3.5 miles to Little Britain. At the stop sign, turn right onto Little Britain Rd., go 0.4 mile, then turn left onto Sleepy Hollow Rd. Go about 4 miles, cross the Octoraro Creek, and continue for about 1 mile. Bear right at the Y intersection, and go about 1 mile. Park on the right at the Goat Hill Natural Area sign. Trail rating: moderate.
Leader: Tim Draude

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Interactive key to the Cyperaceae of North America.






A new online/interactive Key to the Cyperaceae of North America is now available and announced today on Taxacom by Timothy M. Jones a Ph.D. Student at LSU . I will have to start learning these better and not wait until retirement. I do like the interactive glossary for the Cyperaceae!

Timothy Jones announced:

"Interactive identification keys to Xyris, Cyperus, Kyllinga, Rhynchospora, Scleria, and Carex are now available on the Louisiana State University Herbarium website. The keys are free to use and written in Lucid 3. 4. Additionally, a demonstration of a new interactive glossary to the Cyperaceae written with Cooliris is available, as well as a demo interactive/zoom-able phylogenetic trees and data on the Cyperaceae. This is presented using Deepzoom(of project Seadragon). All are at http://www.herbarium.lsu.edu/keys/"



This is a beautiful Carex species I took pictures of last June in a sphagnum bog in Quebec. I should try keying it out (or just send the pictures to a botanist I know:-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Native Plant Network



I just learned about The Native Plant Network

including the Native Plant Journal
The Journal has some good articles. Iin my quick scan of the issue with the Trillium grandiflorum on the cover I found the articles on Trillium propagation were by two people I know, Bill Cullina and Stephanie Solt. The Articles are available electronically(for 2006 and earlier only) so I expect to finad a lot of good reading!

and the
Native plant propagation Database
The protocols are based on large scale harvesting and cleaning but I expect to find a lot of useable information here as well.