Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Plant Inventory Walk at Autumn Hill Reservation

Five of us gathered on Sunday, June 29 to take what was for most of us our first look at this quiet preserve on the east side of Princeton. The goal was to try out the trails and identify as many plants along the way as possible, as part of an effort to document plant diversity in Princeton.

The township website descriptions says "the occasional drone of single-engine airplanes adds to the lazy feeling of the place", and sure enough, a plane or two flew over in lazy fashion. The 72 acres vary considerably in the presence of invasive species. The first stretch has very few exotics, with a nice variety of natives like maple-leaved Viburnum and even a few Joe-Pye-Weed growing along the trail.

After the trail crosses a stream, the exotic multiflora rose starts showing up in force, but natives like black cohosh (photo) and broad beech fern still find room to grow.

Photo #2: Daniel pointed out a beech tree with very un-beechlike bark (photo).

Photo #3: ...and correctly identified Indian Pipe, a parasitic plant related to blueberries.


#4: Some would call this old jalopy an eyesore, but I like to think of it as history, a time capsule slowly returning to earth as the trees rise above.

Thanks to Suzy of the Whole Earth Center for bringing along cider and pretzels for a post-walk snack.

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