Posts Tagged ‘sugar maple’


Many thanks to Birdgirl, who I’m sure you will agree, did a great job filling in with a couple of posts while I was away from my computer!
When I returned to Willow House, Birdgirl and I were able to visit for a while, and took grandog Raven for a walk over at the nearby Robert Graham Trail.


The Robert Graham Trail is dedicated to a past chair of the South Nation Conservation Authority. The 136 acre site was acquired in the early 1960s and features conifer plantations and natural hardwood forests. It provides habitat for deer, birds, and other wildlife in an area that features heavy agricultural use. Pictured above is a beautiful, mature Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) located near the entrance to the trail.


The main trail loops through the interior of the site and around the eastern edge. The initial mixed woodland quickly gives way to a Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) plantation. Parts of the plantation have significant undergrowth and fallen trees, which impart a more natural look to the maturing plantation, while other areas still feature conspicuous rows of conifers. Stands of Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) are also represented.


While the trail appears to have once been well-groomed, there is little evidence of any recent maintenance, and the pathway deteriorates significantly toward the back half of the property, at times nearly disappearing in the undergrowth. Boggy sections that once had corduroy walkways are now difficult to navigate without incurring wet feet.


The more abundant wildflowers of spring are done, though a few mostly-inconspicuous summer bloomers were flowering. A number of fern species gave the forest floor a lush appearance, including tall Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), pictured above.


A few different fungus species were observed. One of the most interesting was this bracket fungus, probably Lacquered Polypore (Ganoderma lucidum).


There were a few patches of Running Ground Pine (Lycopodium clavatum), a low-growing, spore-bearing plant of moist, shaded woodlands. The scientific name means wolf’s foot [from the Greek: lukos (wolf) and podos (foot)]. Spores develop in globular cones held on long stalks at the ends of branches. The spores were used by Native Americans to treat cuts and skin abrasions. The spores are highly flammable. They were once used by photographers and theatre performers as flash powder.

Recent rains have left the low-lying areas quite muddy and lots of mosquitoes accompanied our passage through the woods. The trail would probably be more enjoyable in the fall, when the worst of the insects are done and the trees are decked out in their autumn colours. Still, it was a pleasant walk in spite of the hazards.


Read Full Post »