Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A spring walk in Rosedale Park, NJ

AnS and I went for a walk in Rosedale Park in Mercer County, NJ, a few weeks ago, and were pleasantly surprised by the nice little river, more like creek in fact and all the spring flowers. In many forests around here the native spring flowers have been totally obliterated by the invasive garlic mustard (löktrav, used to grow at the compost heap where I grew up in Sweden) or the deers are having a party on the native flora. I wish deers liked garlic mustard, japanese stiltgrass, and invasive rose bushes!The forest floor was littered not only with dead beech leaves but also may apple, a plant that shoots up one stem with an umbrella leaf on top. If they flower, then the flowers hang below the leaf and is up to 5 cm in diameter. Later they get a large fleshy fruit called mayapple (of course). The plant is being used as an anti-cancer herbal. More propeller plant pictures:
This is how the spring forest looked like in photos before 1950 when color photography became popular (I know it started earlier, but it wasn't in everyman's camera). I like black and white photography, but for spring it doesn't give it justice.

Flowering dogwood, I love it!
This tree stuck its gnarly rooted fingers in the ground.

One of my favorite plants, ramp, a wild onion that you only see in spring in these types of forests where it can cover the whole ground in large colonies. It is a delicacy, but I have only seen it in preserved areas where you can't pick it. It is so good in soups and omelets!


O.K. said...

Good post, I like that you link to articles about things you mention. It gives me a chance to learn about podophyllotoxin, that flowering dogwood has been used for golf clubs and that the edible ferns are called fiddleheads. Among other things.

LS said...

Of course I link, I need to back up my statements with some scientific facts! :)

I didn't know about the golf clubs. Ask AnS next time you see her what she thought about the fiddle heads, she ate some when she was here. Both pickled and freshly cooked.

PP said...

my 2 favorites, Mayapples and Jack in the Pulpit. They both bring back such strong memories...they were prob. the first plants I could identify "in the wild". The "wild" being the woods(or forest as you Swedes would say)around my house where I grew up. Plus they are both so distinctive and different from other plants you see on a walk in the woods. I used to pick them both and bring them to my mother, they were both favorites of hers too.

LS said...

I don't think we saw many jack-in-the-pulpit at this place, but there was lots of mayapples. Probably more than I have ever seen before.