Substrate Associated Plants

One of the many plants that are sandstone loving plants is the catchfly (Silene virginica). The fire pink plant was used for worm medication and to help with nerve disorders by herb doctors.

This plant below is known as dichranum moss. This moss was historically used for bedding and painting applicates by Native Americans.

Next on the list is the Mountain Loral (Kalmia latifolia). Every part of this pant is poisonous to consume to humans and animals alike even though it is apart of the blueberry family.

Mountain Laurel in Bloom at Shallenberger

This last plant on the list is called sour wood (Oxydendrum arboreum). Sour wood is an important source for honey in its maturity.

Biotic Threats to Forest Health

One of the species of tree that is struggling to survive is the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). However, the introduction of  Cryphonectria parasitica, or chestnut blight was introduced. Before chestnut blight, the wood from the chestnut was used for a variety of things. It was the primary use of log homes when settlers first came to North America. The fungus does not kill the root system, that’s why there are still small saplings. There has not been a way to overcome chestnut blight except to not plant chestnut trees at all.

History of the American Chestnut

The other species of tree that is struggling is the butternut (Juglans cinerea).  Right now, butternut is severely affected by canker disease. A way to help save the tree with this fungus is by pruning it, but it will ultimately succumb to the deadly fungus.

Appalachian Gametophyte

  • The Vittaria appalachiana or Appalachian gametophyte, is a very remarkable because it is one of 3 species that the mature sporophytes are unknown.
  • The gemmae are differently sized than spores. In fact they are considerably larger than spores. These can separate from the gametophytes, disperse in s short distance, and basically make a clone of itself. They can be disbursed by wind, water, or animals.  The 1995 publication by Kimmer and Young suggested that slugs may have had a dealing in the dispersal.
  • The limited dispersal is supported by the lack of the species north of the last glacial maximum. Evidence supports that the gametophytes lost their ability to produce functioning sporophytes either during or before the last ice age.
  • Yes, it could be possible that populations of Appalachian gametophyte can be sustained by long-distance dispersal from a tropical source due to the possibility of hybridization. A fully functioning sporophyte must be responsible for the dispersal because it is showing up in undisturbed areas.

Other Observations

One of the interesting things on this field trip was the amount of different kinds of ferns within the area. The one that I thought was the most interesting was the cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum). This plant was used by Native Americans to treat the common cold and joint pain.,%2C%20joint%20pain%2C%20and%20colds.

The next plant is the hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). This is another tree that loves the acidic soil and is an indicator that the soil is acidic.

The next is a moss called reindeer moss (Cladonia rangiferina). This lichen is usually found in abundance in the arctic reasons and is a food source for reindeer (hence the name), moose, caribou and musk oxen.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) was another tree species there that I though was interesting. If you pluck one of the leaves and rub it in between your fingers it smells like what I thought to be fruit loops. The leaves are also edible.