Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Telling North and South in a Snowbound Forest

There's a prairie wildflower called Compass Plant that orients its leaves north and south, which could prove handy sometimes in a featureless sea of grass. A couple weeks ago at Community Park North, the snow on the trees was performing a similar service. Look northwards and the tree trunks are bare.
Look to the south (at the north sides of the trees) and the tree trunks are coated with snow that the sun couldn't get to.
The snow also makes it easier to see the dense miniature forest of ash tree seedlings, just a few feet high, poised to seize the daylight when the evergreens begin to falter. This is not your normal New Jersey piedmont forest.

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