Couchville Cedar Glade 5/24/16

Tuesday morning was so beautiful I kept driving after I dropped the kid at school. Ended up at my favorite magnet: Couchville Cedar Glade.

need ID
Not a native grass, but a pretty bloomer in the sun*

I’d heard the prickly pear was blooming. It was, but luckily not nearly at its peak, which means we’ve all got time to go see desert roses.

Tennessee coneflower is starting—saw four or five—but the mini golden prairies of Small’s ragwort are still in full bloom.

ragwort prairies
Small’s ragwort (Packera anonyma)

Compared to the everywhere ragwort, there are smaller or more secretive things here and there: stuff you have to look for. Like the Post oak acorn babies as small as BBs, and the male and female persimmon flowers in the parking lot, and the Eastern fence lizard on the footbridge.

But even if you don’t know where to look or what to look for, you are in a cedar glade, and everything is worthwhile. Under your feet are fossils. Out of sight are insects and birds making appropriate noises. Step on glade savory and your path is perfume. You’ve got shady woods, blinding glades and grassy barrens all in a one-mile loop.

And you’ve got lots of ticks, too, so bring a lint-roller. . .

prairie clover
Gattinger’s prairie clover

While kneeling in a patch of Gattinger’s prairie clover (rub the foliage: it smells marvelous), I made an ID completely unexpected: our neighbor, walking toward me on the trail. We’ve never chatted, but I recognized him. His house is on our daily route, and our dogs pretend not to see one another unless forced by traffic to pass on the sidewalk. Turns out, he comes to Couchville every week to see what’s what. Every week. A 30 minute drive. He must have backed out of his driveway 10 minutes after I left mine. No camera, but the binoculars indicated a birder. Clearly, next time our dogs meet, we need to meet, too.

By the way, some Tennessee Natural Heritage staff have organized a bioblitz here Saturday, May 28, and all are welcome to join.

Some Couchville flowers and fruits from Tuesday:

IMG_6143
Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis)
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Showy skullcap (Scutellaria serrata)
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Gattinger’s lobelia (Lobelia gattingeri)
IMG_6126
Narrow-leaf vervain (Verbena simplex)
IMG_6124
False gromwell (Onosmodium molle) and spider
IMG_6113
Rose verbena (Glandularia candadensis)
IMG_6145
Gattinger’s prairie clover (Dalea gattingeri)
IMG_6130
Downy wood mint (Blephilia ciliata)
IMG_6165
Eastern white-flower beardtongue (Penstemon tenuifolia)
IMG_6161
Nodding onion (Allium cernuum)
IMG_6156
Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)
IMG_6171
Carolina larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum spp. calciphinum)
IMG_6186
Post oak acorns the size of BBs
IMG_6234
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica)
IMG_6226
Small’s ragwort (Packera anonyma)
IMG_6218
Glade petunia (Ruellia humilis)
IMG_6205
Prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa)
IMG_6188
7 spotted ladybug (not native)
IMG_6312
Male persimmon flowers
IMG_6294
Flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata)
IMG_6286
ID needed
IMG_6270
Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
IMG_6257
yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
IMG_6237
Green dragon (Arisaema draconitum)
IMG_6300
female persimmon flowers
IMG_6305
Caronia buckthorn flowers (Frangula caroliana)

*The pretty grass turned out to be something I have in the yard: a European bunchgrass called Dactylis glomerata. Thank you to Chris Fleming who identified it for me at Couchville a few days later, and to Claire Brown who ID’d it from my photo! It’s nice to know real botanists…

LINKS:
Last winter’s post about Couchville Cedar Glade

Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area (link at TN Division of Natural Areas)

 

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