Condoret Nature Preserve, September 2008
Woldspider with young
As we ventured towards Tick Creek, we came across a number of plant species one would expect in a wet, old field grading into floodplain forest, including purple gerardia (Gerardia purpurea), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and wingstem (Actinomeris alternifolia). As the field gave way to forest, we discovered a millipede clasping the branches of a bumpy hackberry (Celtis laevigata), young walnuts (Juglans nigra) and a strangely bent ironwood (Ostrya virginiana).
Purple gerardia (Gerardia purpurea)
Wingstem (Actinomeris alternifolia)
Millipede on hackberry (Celtis laevigata)As I circled the strange, bryophyte covered ironwood, I began to imagine how it came to be shaped so strangely. Was this a tree bent by an American Indian to mark a long forgotten trail? Did the children of the former owners find this tree as a sapling and set about to change its natural growth pattern? Was this odd form the result of vegetative growth from a fallen clone?