Now Blooming in Bent Tree

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), also known as spotted touch-me-not, is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.  The bushy annuals shine like jewels when covered with the morning dew, especially when the sun hits them.  The juice from the stems is said to help treat poison ivy rashes.

August 13, 2017 - Jewelweed in Bent Tree

August 13, 2017 – Morning dew on Jewelweed in Bent Tree (click photo to zoom)


Now Blooming in Bent Tree

September 16, 2012 - an old plant identification sign

September 16, 2012 – an old plant identification sign

Galax (Galax urceolata synonym Galax aphylla), also known as Coltsfoot, Wand flower, and Beetleweed.  The photo above was taken in September 2012, off the beaten path along Long Swamp Creek, near the Tamarack Drive end of the Beaver Run Trail.  Years before that, many of the native plants in Bent Tree were marked with labels, and this little sign remained.  I only found it because I spotted some trash in the underbrush and went to pick it up; the trash was next to the sign.  I went back to the spot in the spring of 2013 and sure enough, galax was blooming around the sign.  The sign, and that particular bed of galax, was swept away by the flood later in 2013.  But, there are still many locations in the community where you can find galax in bloom right now.  The photo below was taken on Monday.

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May 8, 2017 – Galax blooming in Bent Tree



Bashful Wakerobin

The photo below shows a nodding trillium blooming in Bent Tree last week. This one is known as Bashful Wakerobin (Trillium catesbaei), a.k.a. Catesby’s Trillium or Rose Trillium. Click here to see a post from 2013 for with a good picture of the same type of trillium taken that year.

April 20, 2017 - Trillium catesbaei in Bent Tree

April 20, 2017 – Trillium catesbaei in Bent Tree (click photo to zoom)

Nodding Trillium

The nodding trillium is a plant that is easy to overlook. The flower hangs down under the three leaves, so it is often inconspicuous. The following photo was taken last month in Bent Tree. If you click the photo twice, you’ll get a good macro view.

April 18, 2013 – nodding Catesby’s trillium in Bent Tree (aka Bashful Wakerobin or Rose Trillium)

The importance of the black locust tree

Early forest regeneration in southern Appalachian hardwood forests is dominated by the woody nitrogen fixing legume, black locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia).” - Boring L.R. and W.T. Swank, Department of Botany, University of Georgia, “The Role of Black Locust in Forest Succession”

Wednesday’s post (click here to read), mentioned a location in Bent Tree that was recently bush-hogged.  The location had three years of thick vegetation growth, including numerous black locust saplings, and would have been the perfect place to monitor growth in the future.  The black locust is native to our area, is important to the honey industry, has beautiful fragrant blooms (used as an ingredient in many perfumes), is valued for its lumber, and is important to wildlife.

“Seeds of the black locust are eaten by northern bobwhite quail, mourning dove, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail, and squirrels. White-tailed deer also eat the leaves and twigs. Many animals use this tree for cover. Cavities in the tree are good homes for bird and other animals, especially woodpeckers. Additionally, black locust is the host-plant for a couple species of butterfly.” – University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Following are photos of black locust trees in Bent Tree this year (click thumbnails for larger image).  The fourth photo shows a black locust sapling that was starting to bloom.  The sapling was growing in the area that was recently bush-hogged.

Did you notice the deer in yesterday’s post?

Yesterday’s post had pictures of thick vegetation that has grown in just three years. One of the pictures was from a different angle, and shows the area adjacent to where the main tree blown-down occurred. Some mature trees remain, but the canopy was thinned by the storm allowing a good amount of sun to hit the ground. This adjacent area has seen a good deal of vegetation growth, but not as much as the area where all the trees where taken out. This picture had a deer in it. Here it is again:

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July 28, 2012 - deer in Bent Tree

Here’s a close-up:

July 28, 2012 - deer in Bent Tree

“de facto” exclosures

The “vegetative study” which turned out to actually be “An Evaluation of Ecological Impacts of White-tailed Deer Browsing Over a Ten Year Period at the Bent Tree Community” has been the topic of two recent posts (click here to read Saturday’s post).  The fact that the report mentioned tick related diseases and deer-vehicle collisions, but never once mentioned drought/rain or shade/sunlight  is a good indicator of the substance of this “vegetative study”.

The summary section of the report states “A number of ‘de facto’ exclosures currently are found on Bent Tree.”  In the April 25, 2011 Bent Tree Cull Report, Steve Smith (USDA) said “Exclosures have worked well in Big Canoe as another tool to gauge the effects of deer browsing.  This should be done away from homes in areas with as little human influence as possible. This will help avoid claims of bias such as supplemental plantings, extra fertilization or watering and deer harassment.  The following photo of a yard in Bent Tree was taken last year (August 2011).  The yard has an electrified deer fence.  The yard receives extra watering (irrigation shown in action in the photo).  Inside the fence are supplemental plantings, and most likely extra fertilization.  And, the fence is obviously close to a home with human influence.  In other words, everything that Steve Smith said needed to be avoided.  Therefore, “ipso facto”,  this area is not a “de facto” exclosure that can be used for scientific analysisThe second photo below was taken last week in a lower elevation of Bent Tree.  This area is not fenced, has no supplemental plantings, no added fertilizer, no artificial irrigation, gets good partial sunlight, has deer, and has a good variety of native vegetation.

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August 13, 2011 - yard with electric fence, supplemental plantings, irrigation

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July 29, 2012 - unfenced vegetation on Bent Tree common property