|The buds of this 2 year old seedling are |
smooth and reddish brown.
The end bud of the Sycamore was smooth and pyramidal. Kind of like those of ash trees, but the sycamore has a single false-end bud (not centered at the absolute end of the twig), while ashes have a terminal bud flanked by two smaller, opposite buds.
|The dry leaves on this American beech |
make it easy to spot in the woods.
Moving into the woods a young American Beech caught my eye. In the winter these can be recognized by their tendency to hold onto their leaves until the spring and by their smooth white bark.
Another tree that has smooth white bark is the American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana. While the beech has a smooth rounded trunk, The hornbeam's trunk is grooved, giving it a muscular or sinewy appearance. Another way to distinguish these two white-barked trees is their leaf buds. The buds of the hornbeam are small and dark brown while those of the beech are orangy-brown, long and pointed with many obvious scales.
Another tree with unique bark is the Hackberry. Though highly variable many trees develop warty knobs and/or ridges that is easy to recognize. Despite the unappealing name, the hackberry is a valuable wildlife plant, both as a butterfly host species and for producing a crop of 'sugarberries' in the fall for birds and small mammals.
|Christmas Fern is 'once-cut' and the pinna (leaf) |
has a single lobe that makes it look like a boot.
A much smaller fern common here is the Ebony Spleenwort, Asplenium platyneuron. This one is found in partly sunny location with average moisture. Mine usually grow to about 6" long and hide in the undergrowth.
|The frond of this Evergreen Wood Fern |
appears to have been stepped on,
but otherwise looks pretty good.
While poking around a steeply sloped area I found a fern that was new to me. Unlike the previous two species this one was much frillier (thrice divided). I took a bunch of photos and pulled out my fern ID books to come up with a name. Turns out that I was an Evergreen Wood Fern, Dryopteris intermedia. This is a common species in the eastern US, but just not that common to my piece of the woods. It's relatively healthy green appearance in the middle of winter would make it a good addition to a home landscape.
|When ID'ing ferns look on the bottom sides of the fronds for the sporangia or sori. |
Their shape and location are distinctive for many species.
There was one fern that I could not figure out. It was small (3-4") and had fairly simple leaves (pinna). It's grow in a gap between roots of a large tree. I checked the underside of the frond for sporangia, but none to be seen. I'll need to come back later in the spring to see how it develops.
I would appreciate any ideas on what this might be.
|Can see some flower buds forming on this Coral Honeysuckle.|
|The leaves of this Carolina Jasmine have turned red,|
but are holding on.