Posts Tagged ‘plant identification’

Saturday’s hike to Blue Mountain was extremely enjoyable with signs of spring popping up everywhere. In attendance was Lis, Akhtar, Jed, Silas, Skyler, Megan, Rong, and myself (Crystal). Lis brought her camera and took many great photos for the report.

We came across many interesting, plants, mosses, and lichens. Initially we saw some Colts Foot in bloom, this was followed by several bushes of Pussy Willows at different blooming stages. Wild Cranberry plants from last year (img 502, img 503) were spotted along the path as well as budding maple trees (img 512). Along the way there were several lichen colonies, including British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella) (img 499) and different species of Usnea. The high presence of lichens and specifically the presence of Lobaria pulmonaria indicated that air quality was probably very high (lichens absorb nutrients through their outer surface and are highly sensitive to air pollution, hence a high lichen diversity and presence, is indicative of low levels of pollution). We also came across two unknown moss varieties, one that seemed to mimic pine (img 518) and another that seemed to mimic cedar (img 522).

Along the way Trailing Black Berry (img 523), Lambkill (img 505), Native Rhodora (img 514), and Leather Leaf (img 520, img 521) were spotted. We also came across some Snowberry Plants (img 516) (img 517), no berries were present but a faint trace of mint fragrance could be detected. Jed found some pine gum from a stump in a cut lot. Silas and Lis later gathered rose bushes from this same cut lot.

Along the path towards the top of the mountain, under a heavy tree canopy some was still snow present. On the path Golden Thread plants were found and their roots sampled, they were very bitter. On the top of Blue Mountain; Club Moss (img 531), Broom Crowberry (img 532), Juniper, Wintergreen, and different varieties of lichens were found. Some Juniper berries and Wintergreen berries were sampled, the wintergreen berries were extremely sweet. On the way down May Flower blossoms were spotted. May Flower is the official flower of Nova Scotia.

The day ended with a sample of wild carrot. It was a nice way to finish off the day’s adventure.


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On Sunday (march 16) afternoon joined by Kate, Lis, Rong & Yang started hike towards Susie lake from behind Staples. Saturday’s 15 cm snowfall had covered signs of trail, so were walking in snow just keeping the direction in mind and let Lis lead the way,as she had been to lake few times.(this gave me space to look around & observe vegetation, though ground hugging plants were entirely buried under snow).
We noticed shrub/small tree ‘Alders’ (genus – Alnus) with last year’s male/female cones hanging on the branches. few last year’s
‘golden rods’. Sweet fern (latin – Comptonia peregrina) it is a vascular plant & not a fern, but given common name of ‘sweet fern’ as  leaves have fern like shape with nice sweet smell. Brown leaves still retained some smell. Lis collected leaves for making tea.
Leather leaf, white birches. Several Tamarck trees, (it is only conifer tree which sheds needle like leaves in winter – needles are in bunch of more  than 5 mounted on small spur). Differentiated a white pine tree which has 5 needles in bunch from a Jack pine having 2 needles in a bunch. Explained to group that SPRUCE needles are in single spread around  branch, has 4 sides hence can be rolled by thumb & finger shorter in length than a FIR tree, which are attached to branch in 2 rank or on opposite sides, are flat hence can not be rolled between thumb & finger, whitish underneath, base of needle is flat round so is needle scar on branch. HEMLOCK needles would be similar to FIR’s except shorter in length & at base would have pick like stem while tearing  it from branch will leave scratch mark on branch skin.
It was great view walking into snow, after a while found some tracks seemed people had headed to lake before us. ‘Broom crowberry’ low
perenial plant was under snow but noticed few by track in open.
Shrub ‘Lambkill’ was abundant with last year’s leaves still hanging
so were huckleberries but without any leaves. Noticed few ‘Rhodora’
this shrub is first to flower (nice radiant pink) in spring before leaves appear on it.
We kept heading towards lake catching all the beauty of surrounding trees/shrubs finally climbed to small hillock by lake. I have yet too see a comparable beautiful spot like this close to HRM. Here identified a small maple tree, labrador tea (Lis collected leaves for tea), wintergreen (being under some shrubs, saved these low plants coming under snow).

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