(Above photo: Rod Simmons standing next to a pitch pine in the pitch pine wetland.)
Today, I had the pleasure of showing Rod Simmons, Mark Strong, and Carol Kelloff of the Smithsonian Institute some of the sights (and sites) on the North Tract.
Our first visit was the putative “Magnolia Bog.” We had to hike down the side of a steep hill to get to it. Rod confirmed what I had suspected that the area was the so-called Southern Red Maple – Blackgum Swamp Forest (CEGL006238). The question of whether or not this is the “bog” in Odenton that Waldo McAtee described in 1918 remains, but I believe it probably is.
We next proceeded to the North Tract’s Sundew Bog. This is an area underneath the BGE powerlines where the round-leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) is found. Most of the area under the powerlines at this site is an open bog. Rod and Mark looked to the south of this bog area and east of Lemmons Bridge Road, and discovered which might end up being a new vegetation type for Maryland. While the exact type of this plant community is yet to be determined, it is an unusual Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) wetland complete with peat and sphagnum moss. This area will be the subject of further research to determine exactly what it is.
After lunch, we visited the pitch pine grove next to the “savanna” area. Rod confirmed my original determination that this was the Pine Barrens Pine-Oak Woodland (CEGL006329) vegetation type. The refuge has conducted at least two prescribed burns in this area and most of the ericaceous plants seemed to love it (Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) was stunted however).
We also looked at three different hybrid oaks along the way. At one stop along Whip-poor-will Way, Rod pointed out a Coastal Plain / Piedmont Small-Stream Floodplain Forest (CEGL004418) plant community. In the same area, Rod pointed out a Possum Grape (Vitis labruca) vine. I will be going back to collect a voucher specimen when it is more mature.
A good time seemed to be had by all and I look forward to collaborating with these fine folks in the future.
Click on the thumbnails below for a full-sized view.