Station T

Too brackish for some •  Just right for others  (M2.9)

This patch of common reed produces short and slender stems compared with stands elsewhere in the park that have stems exceeding 10 feet in height.  The Japanese knotweed growing on higher ground also looks stunted compared to towering individuals elsewhere in the park.  Common hackberry is almost shrub-like here with scant resemblance to the two impressively large trees near the parking lot. The lichen on its branches suggests that growth has been at a slow rate.

What factor has caused these three plants to do so poorly compared to conspecifics elsewhere int he park?

Answer >

Greater wind exposure could be a factor but the overriding factor may be the brackish environment.  Elsewhere in the park, plants that are similarly exposed grow to a larger size because their water supply is less saline.

Plants that thrive here in brackish water include the smooth cordgrass and the saltmarsh sand-spurry.