Demolition Restoration Begins, and Botanical Erratum

by Carl Strang

This week I was happy to see the return of activity in the friary demolition site at Mayslake Forest Preserve. As I reported last fall, the old friary was taken down and the way cleared for the return of its site to a wild state.  The ground still needed grading, the deposition of new topsoil, and seeding. Early in the week, heavy equipment returned.

A bulldozer levels the ground while new soil is delivered.

It’s been a rainy week, so the effort has been slowed. I’m looking forward to the project’s completion.

I need to point you back to my post of a few days ago, describing new sedges and grasses. My photos of the curly-styled wood sedge, Sedum rosea, were not good enough, and so I have replaced them. Also, I reported an incorrect identification of Mayslake’s first flowering grass of the season. It was not timothy, which blooms later in the summer, but rather the meadow foxtail, Alopecurus pratensis. A tip of the hat is due to Scott Namestnik of the Through Handlens and Binoculars blog for helping me with this. I have corrected these items.

New Plants for the List 2

by Carl Strang

Many recent additions to the Mayslake Forest Preserve species list have come from my focus on learning about sedges, grasses and rushes. I have found two species of spike rush on the preserve. Most abundant is the red-rooted spike rush.

This little plant grows in dense mats at the edges of Mayslake’s marshes and lakes, and in other wet places.

In one spot I found a second species, taller and more robust.

Known as the marsh spike rush, this one fittingly was at a marsh edge, in a patch surrounded by the previous species.

If plants can be cute, these spike rushes fit the bill. The cutest sedge to date has the charming name curly-styled wood sedge.

Easy to miss, the tufts of this plant are only a few inches tall.

The little flower clusters are only an eighth of an inch in diameter.

You have to have a magnifying glass or microscope to appreciate this plant’s name. The style is a part of the tiny female flower.

I was interested in the plants growing in a little depression where I found abundant meadow katydids last summer. One dominant plant there
keyed to the common fox sedge.

Portions of the low spot had only this species growing in them.

It is so much bigger and different looking from the curly-styled wood sedge that it is surprising that both are in the same genus.

And yet, both belong to the group of Carex sedges in which male and female flowers are combined in the flower clusters.

Soon I will be expanding my study to the grasses, as many are on the verge of flowering. One that is blooming already is the meadow foxtail.

The meadow foxtail is a Eurasian import.

The preserve plant list already has hundreds of species, and I have a long way to go.

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