The Greening of Mayslake
May 7, 2013 at 5:53 am (botany, ecology, restoration)
Tags: bellwort, controlled burn, Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's breeches, early buttercup, Mayslake, Ranunculus fascicularis, Salix babylonica, Uvularia grandiflora, weeping willow
by Carl Strang
The once blackened, burned portions of Mayslake Forest Preserve are responding to the increased heat absorption of that dark soil surface, as well as to the release of minerals in the ashes, and plants are growing rapidly.
The savanna ridge, among the last portions to be burned, already was this green a week ago.
Among the flowers blooming in that burned area is the early buttercup.
Bellworts likewise have responded with full stems and flowers.
In the prairies, which experienced their controlled burns earlier, the green reveals that a number of taller stems still stand, their tops unscorched.
This tempers my expectation that insects whose eggs overwinter in such stems might be absent from the burned areas.
Elsewhere, other plants are in their spring glory.
Dutchman’s breeches continue to multiply in the (unburned) south savanna.
Weeping willow flowers may not be colorful, but they offer an interesting texture to those trees in this season.
The green is a welcome change in the landscape.