Biochemical Soul Musings on Nature, Science, Evolution, Biology, and Education

18Apr/09Off

Nature Walk #4.4 – Plants & Fungi

Spring is Here!

This Nature Walk edition continues from #4.3 - Reptiles, Amphibians, & Mammals.

I've broken this post up into four parts due to the large number of images:

The images are highly compressed for bandwidth's sake, but you can click on the images for larger versions (and a few are much deserving of an extra click).

As always feel free to give me any species identifications where I have failed to do so or done so incorrectly.

Plants

I have next to zero skills when it comes to identifying plant species.  As such, the following will consist mostly of images with no real description. Don't get me wrong - I love me some botany. However, every time I learn a new plant, at least five other pieces of information fall from my skull. I'm just not that knowledgeable on  plants.

One defining characteristic of the Chapel Hill/Triangle region of North Carolina in the Spring is the blanketing of the land by invasive (but beautiful) Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). This stuff is everywhere, covering large swaths of canopy, much like the invasive Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) which is also from China.

Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - a perennial Easter visual pleasure

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina Domestica) - Okay, so this is an ornamental as well.  It's still cool.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina Domestica)

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina Domestica)

My property has quite a few various native ferns growing wild throughout the woods. I particularly love them this time of year when the new young leaves are still "fiddleheads."

Fern

Fern fiddlehead

Fern

Fern fiddlehead

Fern

Fern fiddlehead

Fern

Fern fiddlehead

I found this tiny unknown wildflower in the woods as well (anyone care to ID?):

Unknown flower

Unknown flower

I really love these very tiny spring flowers, also found wild in the woods.  They are Azure Bluets or Quaker ladies (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Another ornamental from home - the classic early bloomer Forsythia.

Forsythia

Forsythia

Climbing ivy from my front yard:

Ivy

Ivy

Ivy

Ivy

A random pretty leaf growing on the forest floor.  I found lots of these and would love to know what they are...

Unknown leaf

Unknown leaf

I took this shot just because it was really a quite lovely scene. The sun shone bright as a breeze drifted through a huge expanse of grass on campus.

Grass

Grass

A nice unfinished (and apparently abandoned) beaver-felled tree:

Beaver-felled tree

Beaver-felled tree

Epiphytic plants growing in a tree (technically these are probably not even normal epiphytes - the tree is basically acting like a pot, so the plants are probably in the ground for all they are concerned):

Plants in a tree

Plants in a tree

My ornamental peach:

<br /> Ornamental peach

Ornamental peach

The ground of my property is also covered in a variety of mosses:

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Moss

Fungi

Finally, I found a nice set of Puffball Fungi growing on the base of a tree. I have no idea what they are beyond that...

Puffball Fungus

Puffball Fungus

And that is the end of this latest collection of my observations of nature. The reason I love doing this is that it gives me the perfect excuse to do a little research and learn a little bit about the organisms surrounding me, particularly on how to identify them.

Hopefully, you all get a little bit out of it as well.

See the rest of this Nature Walk: