Friday, June 17, 2011

More Dunes Plants and Views

This morning I hiked the same trail in the dunes as yesterday, with some variations once up in the dunes. For the first time this year I saw the wild roses in bloom -- but only on one south facing slope in 1 hour and 45 minutes of hiking.

Common Name(s):Wild Rose and Woods rose

Scientific Name: Rosa woodsii Lindl.

Life Span: Perennial

Growth Characteristics: A 2 to 5 foot tall shrub, usually forming thickets. Growth starts in early spring, flowers May to July, and reproduces from seed, rhizomes, sprouting, and layering.

Flowers/Inflorescence: Flowers found in clusters, with 5 petals, 5 sepals, and many stamens. White to dark rose in color.

Fruits/Seeds: Seeds are contained within an orange-red, round hip, which generally stays on the bush throughout the winter.

Leaves: Alternate leaves, leaflets odd-pinnately compound. Leaflets oval, with toothed (serrate) margins, and upper surface of leaf shiny. Stipules are prominent, united at base.

Stems: Twigs are reddish-brown to gray, with straight or recurved prickles (small thorns). The lower trunk is is red-brown, irregularly split to reveal white inner bark underneath. Buds are red and glossy.

Ecological Adaptations:

Wild rose occurs on prairies, plateaus, dry slopes, and in open woods, dunes, ravines, and thickets.

Soils: Wild rose is adapted to a wide range of soil types and textures. Growth is generally best on moderately fertile, well-drained clay loam, sandy loam, or sandy soils. It is also adapted to a broad range of moisture conditions but tends to favor moist, well-drained soils that are present in riparian ecosystems. Wood's rose is tolerant of moderately acid to weakly basic soils.

Uses and Management: Wild rose is browsed by livestock and big game from spring through fall, preferring this shrub in the spring when the leaves appear. Porcupines and beavers also browse the leaves.

Wild rose hips persist on the plant through much of the winter. Many birds and mammals are sustained by these dry fruits when the ground is covered with snow.

It produces extensive rhizomes, and has good survivability and revegetation characteristics even on harsh sites, making this species an effective material for erosion control.

Europeans utilized hips as a source of Vitamins A and C. Rose hip powder was used as a flavoring in soups and for making syrup. American Indians utilized the young shoots as a potherb. The leaves were steeped for tea, petals were eaten raw, in salads, candied, or made into syrup. The inner bark was smoked like tobacco, and dried petals were stored for perfume.

Throughout the dunes there are also juniper bushes.  Juniper shrubs vary is size and shape, are evergreen, and are usually low spreading bush type plants. There are approximately 50 species of junipers found in most countries in the northern hemisphere.

Juniper shrubs are a low maintenance plant to grow. Junipers thrive in full sun and in well drained soils. They   are used for groundcovers and border plantings. They are especially helpful in preventing soil erosion, weed control, and planting on difficult to access parts of a landscape. Juniper shrubs are drought tolerant and perform quite well in rock gardens. Most varieties of juniper require very little pruning, if any. Common juniper is a well deserved name. It is the most widely distributed tree in the northern hemisphere, and can be found in Alpine environments, on sand dunes along coastal areas, and as far north as the Arctic circle. It is adaptable to all soil types, but prefers those that are well to very well-drained, and of low fertility. Very resistant to drought, it can withstand some of the harshest conditions. It is shade intolerant and is best placed in a location with full sun. The low growing branches will have a tendency to root when they become in contact with the soil, a process known as self-layering. Blooms are insignificant and occur in March and April.

Although we have had some rain, it is extremely dry up in the sand dunes.  I was surprised to see a mushroom this morning.

I took this same shot yesterday, but everyday the wind direction and speed, as well as cloud cover makes each photo unique and different.

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