Friday, December 5, 2008

ROADTRIP: Morrow Mountain State Park (Albemarle, NC)

Overview: On November 16, 2008, my husband and I were able to take a beautiful autumn hike on Hattaway Mountain in Morrow Mountain State Park. The park is home to numerous trails exploring the ancient Uhwarrie Mountain range, a small natural history museum and the historic homestead of Dr. Francis Kron. For those interested, the home will be open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm for the next three weekends (December 6/7, 13/14 and 20/21). Morrow Mountain State Park is located south of Greensboro, NC in Stanley County. Click here for additional directions.


History, Ecology and Personal Observations: Our journey along the strenuous, 2 mile Hattaway Mountain trail (see park trail map) began on the west side of the park's large swimming pool. The trail wound its way up a gradual incline, through mature woods before reaching the Hattaway Mountain loop. Hattaway Mountain is one of four peaks in Mount Morrow State Park that remind us of the former grandeur of the Uwharrie Mountains, the oldest mountain range in the eastern United States. Although the mountain peaks in the park do not quite attain 1,000 feet in elevation today, the Uwharries once towered some 20,000 feet above sea level and were formed roughly 500 million years ago when the North American and African tectonic plates collided.

View of the Hattaway Mountain Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
View from the top of Hattaway Mountain, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Post oak (Quercus stellata) leaf on Hattaway Mountain Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

The Hattaway Mountain trail hosts some of the park's most beautiful upland forest and scenic autumn vistas. Tree enthusiasts will be greeted by towering chestnut oaks (Quercus prinus) and hickories (Carya spp.), while those looking for a quiet fall or winter hike will be impressed by the sweeping views and relative privacy of this often overlooked trail. While Mark and I hiked this trail, we did not meet anyone else.

Lichen on Hattaway Mountain, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Friday, November 28, 2008

NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Invasive Plants in Winter at Mason Farm (Chapel Hill, NC)

Non-native and invasive species are rapidly changing the face of our planet. In the United States, our most insidious invaders come from southeast Asia and Europe. These species threaten local plant diversity and the greater community structure of American habitats. When plant composition changes, it can affect all aspects of biological communities, including soil microbes, avifauna, and mammals. For this reason, it is important to become comfortable with identifying non-native and invasive flora in your backyard and local outdoor haunts. Winter is an excellent time to start learning your local invasives, since many of them are evergreen or easily identifiable by bright berries.



Below are a number of non-native or invasive plants that can be found in the Triangle. These plants were all photographed at Mason Farm in Chapel Hill, NC, where a dedicated team of ecologists and volunteers work diligently to remove agressive invasives. If you're interested in learning more about North Carolina's invasive species, I recommend taking the Invasive Species class offered by the North Carolina Botanic Garden and taught by conservation ecologist Mike Kunz. Also, feel check out the following link, which illustrates some of North Carolina's invasive species and how to control them.




Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) on Hackberry Warbler Trail at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) & Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) on Hackberry Warbler Trail at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) on Hackberry Warbler Trail at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Non-native buckthorn (Rhamnus spp.) at Mason Farm, Chapel Hill, NC (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carolina Beach State Park (New Hanover County, North Carolina)

Overview: On November 9, 2008, my husband and I made a delightful stop at Carolina Beach State Park, a 761-acre park located in Carolina Beach on Pleasure Island in New Hanover County, North Carolina. The park offers a number of recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, camping and hiking. If you are looking to learn more about coastal ecology stop by the visitor center and then hike along one of the 6 hiking trails available, ranging from 0.25 to 3 miles in length. Here, I describe our hike along the 3-mile Sugarloaf Trail that begins at the marina parking lot.


Directions: To arrive at Carolina Beach State Park from the Triangle, take I-40 east nearly 140 miles until merging with US-117. Continue on US-117 S for approximately 9 miles until bearing left onto NC-132. Continue on Carolina Beach Road (US-421) for 6 miles until making a slight right at N. Dow Road. Then make a right into the park, on Carolina Beach State Park Road. Voila.

History, Ecology and Personal Observations: Carolina Beach State Park was first established in 1969 to preserve its unique carnivorous plant communities and historic Sugarloaf Dune. This area was originally home to the Cape Fear Indians, who left in 1725 as European settlers gained a stronger foothold in the region. By the mid-1700s, the Cape Fear River became a major economic stronghold for the new English colony, providing a shipping route for agricultural products and naval stores. Walking through the quiet park, it was difficult to imagine that this area has been continually abuzz with people and shipping traffic for the past 300+ years.

As we started our hike on the Sugarloaf Trail, proceeding counter-clockwise, we were first impressed by the colorful contrast of verdant longleaf pines against a cloudless cerulean sky. Looking lower into the understory, bright red turkey oak leaves shocked our senses further. The natural beauty of live oaks dangling with dark chestnut-hued acorns and strung with silvery Spanish moss continued to overwhelm our senses.

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Young longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Live oak (Quercus virginiana) at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Turkey oak (Quercus laevis) at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
Walking further, we arrived at the aptly named Grassy Pond. Grassy Pond is ephemeral and filled with sedges (Carex spp.); towards the pond's edge, observant hikers can often find carnivorous plants, including Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundews, bladdeworts and butterworts. In November, especially after another spell of dry weather, these fascinating members of the plant family were impossible for us to find.
Grassy Pond at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
We were able to uncover some fascinating signs of local wildlife. White tailed deer and raccoon prints stamped the white sand. A long black racer (Coluber constrictor) sunned itself on the trail before sliding away into the open woods. Yet, the typically seen skinks and crabs were not to be found, as summer's warmth had faded and even the birds seemed eerily quiet.

White tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) tracks at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
Towards the end of our journey on the Sugarloaf Trail, we arrived at the historic Sugarloaf Dune. Now fenced and barricaded to prevent further erosion, Sugarloaf Dune had been an important marker for ship navigators since the late 1600s and a camp for nearly 5,000 Confederate soldiers during the 1865 Union siege of Fort Fisher.
Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) near Sugarloaf Dune at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
Our journey at Carolina Beach State Park ended with a shoreline stroll past spongy lichens and short, twisted oaks. We took a moment to stop and watch the passing boats on the historic Cape Fear River, imaging a different era in North Carolina's long history.
Powder puff lichen (Cladonia evansii) near Sugarloaf Dune at Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

View of the Cape Fear River from Carolina Beach State Park (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Monday, November 10, 2008

ROADTRIP: Near the Mouth of the Cape Fear River (Brunswick & New Hanover Counties, NC)

Overview: On November 8, 2008, my husband and I were able to take a fascinating boat tour of the magnificent mouth of the Cape Fear River. The tour originated on Oak Island in Brunswick County, North Carolina and ended miles upstream in Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, North Carolina. This tour was offered at the North Carolina Environmental Education Conference and led by naturalist Andy Wood, education director of Audubon North Carolina.

Directions: The tour described here started at Fort Caswell on Oak Island. Fort Caswell is located on the expansive grounds of the North Carolina Baptist Assembly (map; call ahead (910) 278-9501‎ to schedule a tour of the old ruins of Fort Caswell). To arrive at Oak Island from the Triangle, take I-40 east nearly 140 miles to US-17 S. Continue on US-17 S for approximately 10 miles until merging onto NC-133 S. Follow NC-133 S onto Oak Island until is ends, continue on Country Club Road until reaching Fort Caswell. Need a place to stay? Try the historic (c. 1859) Brunswick Inn located in Southport, NC.

History, Ecology and Personal Observations: Our journey began at Fort Caswell (Oak Island, NC), a historic North Carolina fort, constructed between 1826 and 1836, which saw action during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Fort Caswell was captured by Confederate forces in 1861 and only abandoned after the fall of nearby Fort Fisher (across the Cape Fear River) to the Union on January 15, 1865. On January 17, 1865, the Confederate Army ignited their magazines and exploded over 10,000 pounds of gun powder, which resulted in the loss of an entire wall of the fort. The fort was in use intermittantly by the U.S. army or Navy until just after World War II.

Fort Caswell, Oak Island NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Mark W. Cagle)
Fort Caswell, Oak Island NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Mark W. Cagle)
Fort Caswell overlooks the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Here, one is greeted by gorgeous butterflies (e.g., fritillaries and sulphurs), low-flying brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) and even bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). We were lucky to see a pod of three bottlenose dolphins swimming and surfacing near the fishing pier at Fort Caswell, presumably feeding on their favorite foods: small fish from mullet (Mugilidae), mackerel and tuna (Scombridae) and drum and croaker (Sciaenidae) families.

View of Cape Fear River & bottlenose dolphins, Oak Island NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

After delighting in the sight of dolphins, we boarded our catamaran and began to explore the Cape Fear River with Audobon naturalist Andy Wood, who described the fascinating history and ecology of the Cape Fear River. Until the 1790s, the Cape Fear River (previously known as the Clarendon River) was a shallow (between 6 and 12 feet deep), fresh water river surrounded by bottomland hardwood forest and hardwood swamps, containing bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) and the nutmeg hickory (Carya myristiciformis), the rarest species in its genus. Currently, the Cape Fear River is dredged to a depth of roughly 50 feet, which allows for more saltwater influx from the Atlantic Ocean. This saltwater incursion has signicantly altered the ecosystems within and around the river, and was largely responsible for the end of the regional rice industry in the ealry 1800s.

Despite the major ecological changes in the area, the North Carolina Audobon Society has been able to preserve a number of islands and sand bars that serve as important breeding areas for coastal bird species. Battery Island (pictured below) supports North Carolina's largest colony of wading birds, including 10% (or nearly 15,000 breeding pairs) of all American white ibises (Eudocimus albus). The island also supports 23o pairs of great egrets (Ardea alba), 250 pairs of tricolored herons (Egretta tricolor), 215 pairs of little blue herons (Egretta caerulea), 40 pairs of black crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) and over 60 pairs of additional wading birds.

Battery Island in the Cape Fear River, Brunswick County, NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)


Battery Island in the Cape Fear River, Brunswick County, NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Another North Carolina Audubon site, South Pelican Island, serves as an important breeding area for brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) (760 pairs), royal terns (Thalasseus maximus) (1100 pairs), sandwich terns (Thalasseus sandvicensis) (530 pairs) and laughing gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla) (2200 pairs).

Pelican Island in the Cape Fear River, Brunswick County, NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
As we continued up the Cape Fear River, it was impossible not to be disconcerted by all of the obvious ecological and historical changes that had occurred in the region: fresh water has been replaced by salt water; hardwood swamps have been replaced by Sunny Point, the largest munitions port in the entire world; and Confederate blockade runners have been replaced by deluxe yachts and commercial vessels. Fortunately, some sections of this important North Carolina river have been preserved. One such place is Carolina Beach State Park, the subject of my next entry.

Coquina rock formation near Carolina Beach State Park along the Cape Fear River, New Hanover County, NC, Nov. 8, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NEIGHBORHOOD NATURE: Snakes in Autumn

In our own backyard and neighborhood in north Durham, I am always delighted to find snakes curled up next to a rock, basking in the sun or making their way to winter hibernacula in autumn. October and November usually are the last months in which we see snakes in the North Carolina piedmont, but the variety of species seen this time of year can be more impressive than even those seen in mid-summer.

Unfortunately, since so many snakes are on the move to their winter hibernacula this time of year, many are run over on roads that they were either basking on or simply trying to cross. Despite their declining numbers, many people are reluctant to let snakes live in their yards or neighborhood, but by killing snakes we are destroying a valuable part of North Carolina's ecological heritage that also serves as a natural predator of common rodent and insect pests.

Below are a few photographs of snake that I've seen in the backyard this autumn. One notable sighting, not pictured, was a mid-sized copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix):


Northern brown snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi)

Rough earth snake (Virginia striatula)

Here are more somber pictures of dead-on-road (DOR) snakes found recently in my small neighborhood:

Mole kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) DOR



Rough earth snake (Virginia striatula) DOR


















Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WEEKEND ACTIVITIES: November 8-9, 2008

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATORS OF NORTH CAROLINA 18th ANNUAL CONFERENCE: From Thursday, November 6 to Sunday, November 9, the Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC) will be hosting their 18th annual conference at Fort Caswell Baptist Assembly on Oak Island. The three day agenda will included guided tours of nearby natural areas, workshops, informative sessions on current issues in environmental education and fantastic evening events (including a coastal boat tour and behind the scenes peek at the Fort Fisher Aquarium). If you're passionate about environmental education, this can't be missed. More information can be found at the EENC conference website.


TLC DEEP RIVER HISTORICAL TOUR: On Saturday, November 8, 2008, the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) if offering a fantastic historical-ecological tour of the Deep River area, in conjunction with historian Edwin Patterson. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to explore House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site, the Tyson House (c. 1800), Deep River Park and the Camelback Bridge, as well as Endor Iron Furnace. For more information about the tour and registration, please visit the 2008 TLC Outings website.

Monday, November 3, 2008

West Point on the Eno (Durham, NC)

Overview: On Sunday, November 2, my husband and I took a long walk at West Point on the Eno, a 388-acre park bordering the Eno River in Durham, NC. Our walk emphasized local geology and was taken from an excellent publication produced by the North Carolina Geologic Survey (see pages 49-56 for the guide to West Point on the Eno):

Bradley, P. J. 2007. A Geologic Adventure Along the Eno River, Information Circular 35. North Carolina Geologic Survey: Raleigh, North Carolina. 65 p

During our hike, we used three trails: the South River trail (0.52 miles), Sennett Hole trail (0.15 miles one way) and the Buffalo Trail (0.40 miles) (see trail map). These trails not only revealed fascinating rocks and minerals, but also yielded beautiful trees ablaze with fall color and interesting animal sightings.

Directions: West Point on the Eno is located at 5101 N. Roxboro Road in north Durham. The geology hike described by Bradley (2007) begins at the West Point Mill, an obvious landmark located to the north of the parking areas.

Observations - Geology Hike: The geology hike begins at the West Point Mill, a once thriving center for Durham that was in operation from 1778 until 1942. Here, one is struck by Durham's fascinating history, as well as the impact of people on the environment. Careful observers are likely to find water snakes (Nerodia spp.) and queen snakes (Regina septemvittata) swimming and basking in the rocky area next to the large mill wheel.

The next stop (stop 2) is at Turtle Rock. Turtle Rock overlooks the Eno River and from here visitors can almost always find turtles basking on fallen logs in the water. Turtle Rock itself is an outcropping of felsic tuff, composed of 600 million year old volcanic ash that has been folded and refolded over time.

Felsic tuff at Turtle Rock (Stop 2)

Felsic tuff at Turtle Rock (Stop 2)

Stop 3 on the geology hike highlights floodplain cobbles and gravel along the South River trail, while stop 4 impresses with deep red quartz cobbles.

Quartz cobble (stop 4)

Stop 5 displays a line of rounded diabase boulders. Diabase intruded along the Eno River during the Triassic period, as Pangea split apart (Bradley, 2007). This same diabase is responsible for the interesting geology and ecology of Penny's Bend, east of West Point on the Eno. The prairie that grows there thrives in the basic soil formed from the diabase sill.

Diabase boulders (stop 5)

After passing the diabase boulders, the geology hike continues along beautiful Warren Creek and points out floodplain deposits of boulders, cobbles, sand and silt (stops 6a & 6b). The hike then continues across the creek, onto the Sennett hole trail and brings you to Sennett hole (see previous posting), a lovely place to sit with a picnic lunch.

Warren Creek (stop 6a)

After a brief respite at Sennett Hole, the hike heads back to Warren Creek, where you join the Buffalo Trail. Stops 8 and 9 highlight deposits of tuff and granodiorite, an igneous rock similar to granite. Stop 10 is delightful, allowing you to ponder the beauty of more hydrothermal quartz tinted red and pink by iron.

Granodiorite (stop 9)

Hydrothermal quartz with iron impurities (stop 10)
The final stop on the geology hike (stop 11) explains the origins of several large diabase boulders near Meadow Branch creek. These boulders were actually brought to West Point on the Eno from a nearby quarry.
Observations - Trees & Other Sightings: Besides enjoying the fascinating geologic story of West Point on the Eno, our hike also afforded us the opportunity to enjoy the fall colors of the over 35 species of trees and large shrubs that we identified. An alphabetical list (by scientific name) of those trees and large shrubs is provided:
box elder (Acer negundo)
black maple (Acer nigrum)
red maple (Acer rubrum)
river birch (Betula nigra)
musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)
mockernut hickory (Carya alba)
ironwood (Carya virginiana)
sugarberry (Celtis laevigata)
eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
dogwood (Cornus florida)
persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
American holly (Ilex opaca)
black walnut (Juglans nigra)
red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
red mulberry (Morus rubra)
sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)
loblolly pine (Pinus taega)
American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
black cherry (Prunus serotina)
white oak (Quercus alba)
southern red oak (Quercus falcata)
swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii)
water oak (Quercus nigra)
willow oak (Quercus phellos)
northern red oak (Quercus rubra)
post oak (Quercus stellata)
sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
winged elm (Ulmus alata)
mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)
arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
American holly (Ilex opaca) with berries

Swamp chestnut (Quercus michauxii)
Mark and I were also fortunate to find a late-season queen snake (Regina septemvittata) near the old mill, which we happily shared with a boy and his father, as well as a wheel bug. Wheel bugs are named because of their wheel-like armour. They feed on caterpillars and japanese beetles (by piercing them with their beak, paralyzing them and then slurping up their dissolved insides!), making them a beneficial insect for gardens, but BE CAREFUL, they can deliver a relatively painful bite if handled.

Queen snake (Regina septemvittata)


Wheel bug (Arilus cristatus)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ROADTRIP: Chicago Wilderness & the Grove

Introduction: As a native midwesterner, autumn rarely feels official until I have breathed in the cool, crisp air of the north and feasted on views of golden sugar maples and russet burr oaks. This year was no different than most, my natural wanderlust led me back home to northern Illinois.

Historically, northeastern Illinois is home to the beautiful duneslands of Lake Michigan, wide reaching prairies, and open oak-hickory forests. Both little pockets (e.g., Sunbury prairie) and large expanses (e.g., Illinois beach state park, Fermilab prairie) of these habitats can still be found in and around Chicagoland. In fact, Chicagoans are so proud of their surrounding parklands that a quarterly magazine, Chicago Wilderness, devotedly highlights local hiking opportunties and natural phenomena.

The Grove: One of Chicagoland's natural and historic gems is the Grove, located north of Chicago in Glenview, IL. The Grove not only maintains an impressive interpretive center full of live local fauna and Native American artifacts, but also offers guided tours of two historic homes: the Kennicott House, built in 1856 and the Redfield House, completed in 1929. Moreover, the dedicated Grove staff offers family programs, natural history hikes, and living history tours of an 1830s log cabin and a recreated long house. These historic sites are surrounded by over 123 acres of savannah, oak-hickory forest and both permanent and ephemeral wetlands accessible by a network of hiking trails.

The Grove's two major historic attractions (the Kennicott House and Redfield House) both offer strong links to local natural history. The Kennicott House was home to area naturalist Robert Kennicott (1835-1866) who collected local natural history specimens for Spencer Baird at the Smithsonian Museum and helped establish the Chicago Academy of Sciences. Robert Kennicott got the entire family involved in his nature escapades -- his sister Alice was a great shot and helped collect avian specimens, Cora would walk in the tall grass and shake insects off her long antebellum skirts onto a sheet, while Robert's dad, Dr. John Kennicott, would publish a passionate defense of snakes in The Prairie Farmer. Robert Kennicott went on to explore Alaska, where he died of congestive heart failure at the young age of 30.

The Redfield House, a beautiful prairie style home designed by George Grant Elmslie and completed in 1929, was the hideaway of writers Donald Culross Peattie and Louise Redfield Peattie. Donald Culross Peattie, a beloved nature writer, is probably best known for his lyrical book, A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America, which poetically and practically describes each tree in turn. Another jewel among Peattie's numerous books is A Prairie Grove, which takes the reader on a journey through history at the Grove.

The Redfield House, The Grove, Glenview, IL

Conclusion: Need a little getaway? Want to enjoy a northern autumn? Take a trip to Chicago. Enjoy first rate museums, like the Field Museum, Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry, then explore Chicagoland's natural beauty. Visit oak-hickory forests, fascinating dunelands, and prairie patches. And, if you have the chance, visit the Grove -- bring along Peattie's A Prairie Grove or An Almanac for Moderns, bring along your own nature journal and explore.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Neighborhood Nature: Backyard Bryophytes in October

Introduction: The "Neighborhood Nature" segment of my blog is meant to reveal nature in our own neighborhoods and backyards. The natural areas near our homes may not always be pristine, but they often abound with fascinating plants, animals and natural phenomenon.

Backyard Bryophytes: Bryophytes, tiny non-vascular and non-flowering plants that first adapted to terrestrial environments about 500 million years ago, often go ignored as we tramp through our yards. These plants, consisting of mosses, liverworts and the elusive hornworts are surprisingly diverse (over 23,000 species have been described worldwide). In my own backyard, I was able to find and identify at least five different bryophyte species.



Brachythecium spp.


Bryoandersonia illecebra


Hydrohypnum spp.


Pottia spp. (?)



Thuidium spp.


Need more information? Bryophyte identification can be very challenging. If you're really interested in learning more about these fascinating plants, sign up for the bryophyte class offered at the North Carolina Botanic Garden in Chapel Hill.

You can also pick up Crum and Anderson's 2 volume Mosses of Eastern North America (1981) and Marie L. Hicks's Guide to Liverworts of North Carolina, both of which are excellent references.