Twice vandalized tree • Primrose and thoroughwort • Rich marsh vegetation (A9)
Does it look like the silver maple was shortened by natural causes?
Definitely not! Vigorously regenerating stems of this silver maple were chainsawed in mid-March 2021 while the two main stems had been cut several years earlier. If the robustly growing stump sprouts had been left alone, they would have developed into a reasonable-sized tree in several more years, and the strengthened silver maple roots would have impeded the invasive spread of Japanese knotweed in this area of the park.
Sadly, there are now only two mature individuals of silver maple left at Salter Grove, one by the boat launch, and another near the head of Pond Trail where there are also three saplings. This species naturally occurs at the margins of wetland habitat, and it is an important source of food and shelter for various animals. In contrast, the aggressively invasive Japanese knotweed offers few resources to animals and prevents the establishment of other plants.
The consistently moist soil at the foot of the slope has enabled substantial patches of two native wildflowers, boneset thoroughwort, and common evening primrose. They grow elsewhere in the park, but in smaller patches and with fewer and thinner stems because of drier substrate.
Unfortunately, the surrounding Japanese knotweed stems also benefit from the reliable soil moisture, and preserving these two native species means removing the surrounding knotweed stems each growing season.
From late spring through late fall, the connector from Audubon Trail to the Marsh Trail cuts through a dense belt of herbaceous vegetation. Despite having tender and slender stems, some of these plants are able to reach a surprising height because they provide vertical support for each other. Many different kinds of insects visit the flowers of these plants that thrive in full sun and wet soil.
[Check species accounts for identifying images because the growth habit of some of these plants prevent permanent labeling.]
Plants like common milkweed, common thistle, slender yellow wood sorrel, and wooly blue violet tend to be on slightly higher ground nearer the lawn.
Species that can tolerate some amount of brackish water and occasional tidal inundation are found closer to the marsh. These plants include arrow-leaved tearthumb, climbing nightshade, eastern willow-herb, jewelweed, hedge false bindweed, King Solomon's-seal, narrow-leafed cat-tail, nut flatsedge, oriental lady's-thumb smartweed, purple loosestrife, small-spiked false-nettle, and wild radish.