Friday, October 10, 2014

October 9 2014 Ramble Report

Fifteen Ramblers gathered at 8:30AM by the Arbor on another fine fall October day. 

Click here to see Don Hunter's album of today's ramble.

Many Ramblers will remember Joan West, a young UGA post-doctoral student who accompanied us for about a year before she left Athens to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Joan was temporarily sidetracked by injury but continued her trek after recovering. Winter is now impending so she will take a break and will resume hiking the PCT next year. Click here to read her blog about her PCT experiences, as well as her helpful tips on backpacking and hiking.

Opening Reception for Hugh and Carol Nourse photography exhibit, Wild Flowers, Wild Places:
The reception will be held in the Visitor Center, October 12, 2-4PM. The Nourses have selected 33 Images drawn from over 20 years of photographing native plants and their habitats, mostly from Georgia and the southeastern U.S., with a few from the western U.S. and Newfoundland. The exhibition will display in the Visitor Center of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia from October 12 thru November 23.

Today's reading:
Lee read from a letter to Josiah Bartlett's wife about what was happening while he was at the Convention in Philadelphia in 1776 that created the Declaration of Independence.  The letter was written only weeks before the signing of that document.

Last thursday after Congress, I, with 5 or 6 other Delegates walked about a mile & half out of the City to see the Proprietors Gardens: there are a great many Curious trees, Bushes, Plants, &c. Among the rest the alois Plant is I think the most Curious. I Cannot Describe it as it is not like any thing I Ever Saw before. There are a number of Sweat & Sower orange trees, Lemmon trees, lime trees & Citron trees; the Same tree had some flowers, some Small & some ripe fruit at the Same time; the trees are about 8 or ten feet high Set in Boxes of Sand So that they Can be removed in Cold weather into a hot house, So that they grow & bear fruit all the year round.
Josiah Bartlett to Mary Bartlett, 10 June 1776,
Frank C. Mevers, ed. ,
The Papers of Josiah Bartlett (Hanover, N.H.: For the New Hampshire Historical Society by the University Press of New England, 1979), 69-70.
editor's note alois=aloe.

 Today's route:

Today's route was the short Tree Trail, accessed through the Shade Garden.

At the first turn down the path through the Shade Garden we passed a very large Japanese maple with three large trunks.  Shirley Berry told me that this was the champion Japanese Maple in Clarke County.  The Shade Garden tends to rest through  late spring and summer after the leaf cover shades everything.  But now the fall flowers are arriving, and the first is the
Sasanqua Camellia
Camellia.  Cultivars of Camellia sasanqua are the first to bloom.  Since this is a tree walk, we noted the mockernut hickory with its deep diamond shaped bark pattern.  Or, as Linda Chafin describes it, it looks like the pattern of iron on an outdoor grill.  Toad lilies from Asia are very small, but if one looks closely the anthers and stigmas remind one of passion flower (but they are unrelated).  Dan Williams argues that green ash grow in the Piedmont, while white ash trees grow in the mountains.  So it is nice to see the white ash beside the walk through the Shade Garden.  The two ash trees are hard to distinguish, but it can be done by looking at the seeds from each.  Not having them, this was not discussed.  But a wonderful find farther along was the original tea plant Camellia sinensis, which was blooming with small white flowers as compared to the larger pink and white ones seen on C. sasanqua.

We side tracked into the Dunson Native Flora Garden to take a look at the rusty black haw, which gets its name from the rusty hairs on the leaf petioles.  I was hoping we could compare this one with the one on the white trail later, but we did not get that far.  Here a green caterpillar fell on my shirt. It was a moth caterpillar, abut we couldn't identify it further.  Returning to the paved path through the Shade Garden several stopped for an orb weaver web between the two stone bridges.

Beefsteak Plant flower
Walking up the gravel path to the Power Line ROW we
Late purple aster
observed three plants with beautiful deep blue flowers, the late purple aster.  Lee wandered over to the area near the bee hives and returned with a lovely flower with a square stem, two leaves, and beautiful blue flowers.  It was the beefsteak plant, which has been used for flavoring meats, but is not good for you when too much is eaten.  Golden asters were still blooming in the power line ROW.  They have been around for many weeks for our rambles.  Although the ROW had been mowed, there was still a rim of purple top or grease grass.  Dog fennel and rabbit tobacco were also continuing to bloom.  Dale found a horse nettle which he picked, but was stuck for his
Horse nettle
trouble.  He then told the story about when he was collecting frogs once and saw one on a nettle leaf.  He thought if he grabbed from the top, the leaf would sink and the frog would get away.  So he clapped his hands together one on top and one underneath the leaf. The frog still got away because of the hurt he felt from the sharp needles underneath the leaf of the horse nettle.

Entering the woods, we stopped at the dead northern red oak with its white ski slope bark.  Here we commented on how many northern red oaks are dying in these woods.  The next stop is great because you can compare the bark of the mockernut hickory with that of the pignut hickory.  Dale found both a mockernut nut with its thick outer covering, and a pignut nut with its much thinner outer covering.  Hugh commented on the edges of the leaves of the beech tree that are like waves at the beach.  On the ground at our feet were a number of muscadine leaves.  Hugh noted that muscadines are everywhere on the ground in the woods, but are rarely seen blooming or making grapes.  They have to climb higher in the trees to get the light necessary for flowering and making grapes.  Along the trail were a number of high bush blueberry bushes that are distinguished by the green color of their new growth.

Someone asked about a sapling with tannish bark.  Dale pointed out the leaves with their edges doubly serrate, meaning that the teeth alternate big and little.  It was a hop hornbeam, which is easier to identify when it gets larger, just by looking at the bark, which looks like a cat scratched it.

The white oaks were huge.  Jackie said she could spend the whole time just looking at the very large one just off the path.  As the white oaks get larger the upper bark becomes shaggy, like a shagbark hickory.  White oaks also experience white patches caused by non-deleterious fungal infection.

June bug; no head, legs, thorax; Ouch!
Someone found a dead bug for identification.  Dale declared it was a June bug (really a beetle, but called a bug by everyone).  I was thinking there was only one species, but he said no, there are a number of species.  It is the one that bangs into your screens at night in late spring, early summer. 

Along here we found our first of many sourwoods with its deeply fissured bark. As with many of these trees, it was bending as it grew taller to reach the light.  We tried to identify a pine tree, which had a bark like shortleaf, but it did not have glandular holes in the bark, so it was probably a loblolly tree.  Loblollies have larger cones than the shortleaf pine, but we did not see any at this site, although later we found a loblolly cone that had been completely stripped by squirrels.  Just before going through the deer fence, we noted the star shape of the sweet gum leaves.  According to foresters this tree has highly variable bark and cannot be reliably identified it by it.  Pat added that sweet gums have winged twigs like the winged elm tree.

A dead tree had mushrooms growing up the side.  They looked like faded turkey tail mushrooms, but on closer inspection of the back side, it was a false turkey tail.  False turkey tail mushrooms are smooth on the bottom side, but turkey tail mushrooms have holes on the lower surface.  Being at the top of a dry ridge, scarlet oaks were common.  We compared the deeply incised leaf of the scarlet oak with the wider less incised leaf of the northern red oak.  The leaves are important for identification because both trees have white metallic ski slopes on their bark.

Ebony Spleenwort

Here we also found three ferns.  Don pointed out the ebony spleenwort with it black rachis (stem) and small leaves.  The common Christmas fern was everywhere with its boot like leaves.  But the best was the southern grape fern with its fertile frond coming from below the intersection of the leaves with the stem.
Southern Grape Fern

Fertile frond closeup 

Script lichen
Hugh had not stopped for the common script lichen in a long time, so he stopped this time because many on this ramble had not seen it before.  Bob said it looked more like Sumerian writing than Egyptian writing to him!?

We did finally find a beech tree with beech blight aphids after seeing the sooty mold.  In this
Sourwood leaves turning
area a number of sourwoods were growing at odd angles to reach the light.  Sourwoods and black gum trees are among the first to turn red, and some of the leaves of these sourwoods were turning red.  A musclewood tree seemed an anomaly, since it was on this dry ridge instead of its usual habitat is along streams near water.  Nearby was a triangulate orb weaver.  A pine tree this time turned out to be a shortleaf with many glandular pits in the bark.

Turning the corner to go on the shortcut red trail we saw a sapling damaged by deer rubbing their antlers. Along this trail we found the loblolly pine with the cone stripped by squirrels.  But the most interesting tree on this short cut was the huge sourwood tree.  Jackie
Jackie amazed
was so enthusiastic about the size of it that Don asked her to pose by the tree for a photo.  She insisted on taking off a white shirt so that her picture would be taken with her green t-shirt.  Dale asked if she wanted to put on lipstick.  The photo turned out great!

Remerging with the white trail, a tulip tree leaf caused us to stop and look around for one of these very tall straight trees.  When we found it we discussed how weak its wood is, which is surprising given how tall and straight it looks.  Hugh told that they had tulip trees in their yard when they lived on Ashton Drive in Homewood.  Before a gable roof was put on the house, the roof was flat with a fabric roofing material where water puddled after a rain.  Twice limbs broke off a tulip tree and pierced the roof, resulting in a swimming pool in the bedroom.  That tree was removed.  Someone commented on how big some of the leaves on the ground were and why was that.  It gave Hugh a chance to talk about how leaves high in a tree with a lot of light are small, whereas those on lower limbs are much bigger to gather more of the lesser amount of light available. Just before we merged with the Green trail a dead northern red oak showed deep holes, which Dale thought only a pileated woodpecker would make.

We found that nice pawpaw patch that we have seen on previous trips on the Green trail.  Then going through the gate at the deer fence, we viewed the bright red of several black gum trees.  Beside them was a very small hawthorn with woolly apple aphids.  The southern red oak next to it does not have ski slopes like its relatives the northern red and scarlet oaks.  Southern red oak leaves when turned with the stem up look like bells with the rounded base next to the stem.  The whole leaf is curved like a scythe, which is why the latin species name is falcata.  Down the slope from the road was the muscadine vine in the top of a small tree which got enough light to bloom and provide grapes this year.  Someone had asked about whether there were shagbark hickories in these woods.  There are a few, and we stopped to view one next on the Green trail.

Fallen trees had many mushrooms.  Mostly they were dried out, and we saw many fewer mushrooms along the trail than usual.  But one fallen tree had false turkey tail mushrooms, which were identified as before because there were no holes in the back side.  Pulling out another nearby, however, provided a surprise.  Turning it over it had gills!  It was a split gill
Split gill mushroom
mushroom.This mushroom has another rather unusual characteristic: it has over a thousand different sexes! Dale talked about this at great length in an earlier post this year. You can visit this discussion by clicking here and scrolling toward the bottom, looking for the section titled: mushroom sex.

After that, we did not see much new to discuss, although on the last banister as we turned a corner in the Shade Garden we did find a daddy longlegs.

A small group retired to Donderos for snacks and conversation.



Common Name
Scientific Name
Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum
Camellia sasanqua
Mockernut hickory
Carya tomentosa
Toad lilies
Tricyrtis sp.
White ash
Fraxinus americana
Tea plant
Camellia sinensis
American sycamore tree
Platanus occidentalis
Rusty blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum
Unidentified moth caterpillar

Redbud tree
Cercis canadensis
Unidentified orb weaver

Late purple aster
Symphyotrichum patens
Beefsteak plant
Perilla frutescens
Golden aster
Heterotheca latifolia
Purple top grass/Grease grass
Tridens flavus
Dog fennel
Eupatorium capillifolium
Carolina horse nettle
Solanum carolinense
Southern red oak 
Quercus falcata
Pignut hickory
Carya glabra
American beech
Fagus grandifolia
Muscadinia rotundifolia
High bush blueberry
Vaccinium elliottii
Hop hornbeam
Ostrya virginiana
White oak
Quercus alba
 June bug
Phyllophaga sp.
Oxydendrum arboreum
Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda
Liquidambar styraciflua
False Turkey Tail mushroom
Stereum ostrea
Scarlet oak
Quercus coccinea
Ebony spleenwort
Asplenium platyneuron
Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides
Southern grape fern
Botrychium biternatum
Common script lichen
Graphis scripta
Beech blight aphids
Grylloprociphilus imbricator
Bracket fungus
Phylum Basidiomycota
Carpinus caroliniana
Triangulate orb weaver
Verrucosa arenata
Shortleaf pine
Pinus echinata
White-tailed deer
Odocoileus virginianus
 White micrathena
Micrathena mitrata
Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera
Pileated woodpecker
Dryocophus pileatus
Paw Paw tree
Asimina triloba
Black Gum tree
Nyssa sylvatica
Hawthorne shrub
Crataegus monogyna with
Wooly apple aphids
Eriosoma lanigerum
Shagbark hickory tree
Carya ovata
Common split gill mushroom
Schizopyllum commune
Grandaddy longlegs
Order Opiliones

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