Native invasive • Bird-dispersed plants • Asymmetric yew • Three unexpected trees (P4.3)
With your eyes, follow the branches directly over this station marker to the trunk of he largest white mulberry in the park. It was hidden from view until a massive tangle of the aggressive, native roundleaf greenbrier was removed in February, 2021. The increased light now reaching the mulberry will promote leaf and fruit production. The fruits are usually available by mid-June, just in time for birds exhausted from breeding activities, such as the American Robin and Gray Catbird.
Will understory shrubs also benefit from the increased light?
Most definitely. The shrubs include burning bush, Morrow's honeysuckle, rambler rose, and Tartarian honeysuckle. Like the white mulberry, all are introduced species that produce bird-dispersed fruits. The higher light availability will increase fruit production and potential for dispersal. More bird activity can be expected as the mulberry and shrubs flourish.
Fruits of the two honeysuckles ripen at about the same time as the mulberry so these species may have established as seeds defecated by birds that came to feed on mulberries.
The Japanese yew here is the largest at Salter Grove. The markedly shorter branches on its western side (towards the parkway) suggest that they were heavily shaded at one time. The fallen trunk nearby may have been the culprit before it was brought down by a heavy load of Asian bittersweet.
Black cherry and American elm are not trees usually associated with brackish and exposed shore habitats. The two specimens here would probably be even larger if they had been growing in a more sheltered environment.
Have a look before it's gone! The honey locust just south of where the Pond Trail joins the Marsh Trail looks like it's just barely hanging on after a long struggle. It is a fast-growing tree native to central North America and was likely planted to provide shade for a summer cottage. Dispersal by an animal is less plausible because the seeds are large and there is no likely seed source nearby.