Monday, March 24, 2014

Garlic Mustard vs Skunk Cabbage: Wetland Wars and Adaptation

 Garlic mustard is a European exotic that has spread rapidly into 27 Midwestern and Northeastern States   
 and Canada and continues to spread into high quality woodlands upland and floodplain forests, not just     disturbed high-use  trail use areas.  Sadly garlic mustard alters habitat suitability for the success of  native flora and fauna.  I photographed these bright green just emerged garlic mustard leaves last weekend in a wooded wetland of the Oak Openings Preserve of Lucas County, Ohio. Of note is the young garlic mustard plants received  a head start on their growth season by  emergence adjacent to skunk cabbage (hooded reddish/yellow plant in photo),  a native plant that creates its own  heat and melts and pushes up through ice and snow before other plants and by that act created a more suitable habitat for  invasive garlic mustard.  .                     

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Not So Secrets Signs of Spring's Approach!

All photos by Jonathan Schechter,  March, 2014  
The ways of nature and dates on the calendar are not always in sync especially as restless humans wait for spring. But natural and behavioral signs confirm spring will arrive--but  more snow falls first.
Why stay in a cold tree den when 25 degree sunshine provides warmth for one raccoon?

Hepatic leaves on the south side of lofty oaks hint of pale blue blossoms to follow.

Skunk cabbage generates heat and melts through icy snow granting moss an early growth start.

A restless river crackles and moans as shifting ice lures a hiker to a bench for warm season dreams.