Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Showy Natives that Show Up Late
This may be the only fruiting specimen in all of Princeton, given how hearts 'a bustin' sets a deer's teeth 'a grindin'. It's at the top of the list on a deer's menu. The only reason this shrub managed to make some fruits is that, at eight feet tall, it had somehow managed to reach safely above the browse line. The fruits bust open to reveal the orange seeds, of which only a couple are left in this photo.
By contrast, Princeton woodlands are chocked full of the exotic "winged euonymus" (Euonymus alatus), which has a competitive advantage because deer and other wildlife haven't developed a liking for it. Though the survival of the native Euonymus and other native plant species at Herrontown Woods has been helped by ten years of deer control by the township, this year marks the first time the township has shifted from professional deer management to volunteer bow hunters.
In the background in the photo are pots of big bluestem, a native prairie grass that grows wild in Princeton along the petroleum pipeline right of way. Nice to see these native grasses finding their way into a local garden.