Mayslake Plant Notes

by Carl Strang

This is the time of year when the prairies and meadows at Mayslake Forest Preserve are spectacular with masses of asters, goldenrods and other prairie plants.

Many plants also are fruiting now. I took a moment to study some fallen ginkgo fruits.

They are about an inch in diameter, and each contains a single seed that fills much of its volume.

I have heard they have an awful smell, so this was one of those rare occasions when I was glad for my nose-plugging allergies. I was reminded of the ginkgo seedling I spotted last year below the friary, half a mile distant on the far side of May’s Lake.

Now that I’ve seen the size of that seed, I am less inclined to think that a bird transported it. Now coyote seems the likely disperser, unless there is a female ginkgo off the preserve that is closer.

The red oaks are producing a lot of acorns this fall.

Mayslake doesn’t have many red oaks, but the large ones all seem to have plenty of acorns beneath them.

This may be a regional mast year for them, as I have noticed the same production across the county at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve.

Needless to say, squirrels like mast years.

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