A Day on Long Island

I made a trip to Long Island recently and had the opportunity to see some interesting natural areas. – Steve Young

The beach at Goldsmith's County Park on the Long Island Sound side of the North Fork. Looks like some sand management is going on.

Some of the common beach plants include clotbur . .

and sea rocket, whose fruits actually look like little rockets ready to blast off.

On the dunes, masses of Rosa rugosa were in fruit.

Sea lavender was fairly common and in full flower.

Sea lavender, Limonium carolinianum, is our only representative of the Leadwort Family, Plumbaginaceae, in New York.

Spikegrass, Distichlis spicata, is also a common representative of salt marsh vegetation.

Saltmarsh-elder, Iva frutescens, one of our shrubby composites, was releasing pollen from its ragweed-like flower clusters.

It was sprinked on the opposite, succulent leaves below.

Prickly pear cactus was in among the dune plants but I didn't see any flowers or fruits.

Gray's flatsedge forms a clump of stems in the dunes. It has many rays in the inflorescence and bulbous roots if you dig it up.

In the woods closer to the road was a stand of sweet pepper-bush, Clethra alnifolia, in flower and in fruit.

West of Riverhead, I walked to a rare coastal plain pond to see that the water levels were up to the top. In drought years these ponds drain down to reveal many more plant species that are waiting patiently to germinate when the water is low.

It was raining a lot of the time but on the way back the sun came out to shine across the leaves of the pitch pine oak forest.

Glistening water droplets hung from the ends of the pitch pine needles.

An oak gall had dropped from a tree to the sandy trail.

Scores of new mushrooms were arising out the the sand in the trail too.

On the firebreak between forest patches an exotic catalpa has managed to survive, the only one I saw.

Since this visit Hurricane Irene has paid a visit to the Island and these forests probably look a little different now.  I’ll have to go back and see how they fared.

 

 

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