Challenges in the bottomland (P1.6)
How surprising that this coastal sweet-pepperbush is growing so well on top of a rock! it is known to prefer consistently moist soil in shady habitats like the shallow banks along rivers or ponds. This high-and-dry lifestyle is only possible because of the dense canopy overhead maintains a level of humidity that reduces the loss of water through transpiration.
On the other hand, the deep shade will make it that much more difficult for this young Virginia creeper to ever get enough light to produce fruits in the understory. This juvenile will be monitored to track its challenging journey as it grows upward towards more light. Be careful not to touch the poison ivy that is also perched on the rock.
The damp and shady conditions also encourage decomposition as evidenced by the bracket fungus on the fallen sweet cherry in the low lying area. The nutrients released will be beneficial for the other plants.
The boundary of standing water in this low-lying area is indicated by the position of the tuliptree nearby because it cannot tolerate prolonged inundation. It is likely an offspring of the giant tuliptree on the lawn north of the playground. Studies indicate that the wind-dispersed seeds of a tuliptree can travel a distance four to five times its height. Several other likely offspring have been uncovered in the process of maintaining the nature trails.