Sunday, May 20, 2007
Savoy Mountain State Forest Blues
I did a day-trip to the Savoy Mountain State Forest today with my family. As a family outing it was less than a success, given bugs in our faces, a wet hiking trail, and a grumpy little girl. But they have a nice looking campground (tent sites with picnic tables and grills, some cabins, bath facilities) which was empty, and a couple of ponds (with perhaps 8 men fishing).
Also, I saw some interesting plants I've never really noticed in the wild before. First, a Trillium erectum (aka purple Trillium, or Stinking Benjamin, seen here with aforementioned little girl). It's a full foot and a half tall, hence its specific name. I only saw one cluster of two of these flowers.
Second, an Erythronium americanum (yellow trout lily) which is closely related to the pink-flowered E. dens-canis (dogtooth violet). These plants were all over, but only two or three were in the full flush of bloom, that I could see, with many holding on to maturing seeds, and many as yet unflowered. Like the Trillium, its flowers nod downward and aren't all that showy from above (but not hard to find due to their brighter color). I have a couple of the similar (yellow) Erythronium 'Pagoda' in my garden, but here's the Savoy wilding:
Finally, it's interesting to see how far the garden Viburnum has come from the wild type we see in our local woods, Viburnum dentatum [CORRECTION: I was in a rush to watch the Sopranos, and misidentified this shrub: it is almost certainly Viburnum lantanoides, the Hobble bush]. Part of the difference is genetic, of course, but part comes from the limited sun in the woods, even along a path. Most wild shrubs are understory plants which grow healthily in the shade. But most can also handle at least half sun, and can thereby gain a lot of extra energy for fuller growth and flowering.