by Steve Young – NY Natural Heritage Program
Last summer I had to leave early from Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island for a field trip to Long Island. While I waited for the South Ferry I decided to explore the marsh to the west where a friend had told me there were some interesting plants. He was right.
The early morning sun comes up over the ferry.
Salt grass, Distichlis spicata, is lit up by the low sun angle.
The seaside plantain, Plantago maritima ssp. juncoides is our only plantain that grows in saltwater.
Two species of glasswort grow here. Sarcocornia pacifica, pictured here, has rhizomatous stems
Dwarf glasswort, Salicornia bigelovii, is a single-stemmed annual with thick stems and a leaf scale that has a mucronate (pointed) tip.
Here they are together. There is one other glasswort, Salicornia depressa, that is a single-stem annual but its scales are not mucronate and it has more narrow stems.
Slender saltmarsh aster, Symphyotrichum tenuifolium, added some white and yellow accents to the scene.
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An osprey often keeps watch over the area.