The light was fading when I got around to taking a walk, so I chose College Park with the idea of heading directly to the field. Bob and Lolli came along and were relatively patient with me while I took my pictures.
Along the edge of the field I found two dogwoods, one in bloom, the other already fruited.
The Silky Dogwood blooms will eventually turn into bluish berries. The white berries above are Red-Osier Dogwood. Both shrubs are native and provide great cover and food for wildlife. The Silky prefers wet soil; the Red-Osier is more tolerant of a variety of conditions. At Audubon, we are trying to encourage some dogwoods to form a hedge where we used to have non-native honeysuckles growing.
There were also a couple of vetches adding color to the field. According to the Purdue website, there are over 150 species of vetch, 25 native to North America. I managed to find two aliens.
Crown Vetch is one of those plants that was brought here from Europe to serve a particular purpose: erosion control, particularly along roadsides. It has spread and become naturalized in much of the U.S. and southern Canada. Many state conservation websites and university websites list it as a problematic invasive and suggest ways of controlling it. Apparently it is toxic to horses. Here’s more information, if you’re interested:
I wasn’t able to find out nearly so much about Cow Vetch. A couple of states list it as invasive, having the potential to take habitat from native flowers. I would guess that it is not nearly so invasive as Crown Vetch, based on my observations at the park: There were huge patches of the Crown, but the Cow was found just here and there in the meadow.
My last pair are related because I just learned them this week: Fringed Loosestrife and Moneywort, the former a native, the latter an alien.
Fringed Loosestrife is a native flower that likes to grow where it is wet. I found this one along the creek in the park. I also found Moneywort along the creek near the Loosestrife. It also likes moist ground and interestingly, it is on the same page as the Loosestrife in the Peterson guide. While the Loosestrife stands one to four feet tall, the Moneywort creeps along the ground.
Guess what? I’m going to go hear a lecture by Jane Goodall today at Chautauqua! Yeah!