Jabez Branch Watershed

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Use Class III, Naturally Reproducing Trout Stream


Amanda and I performed environmental studies fieldwork in the headwaters of Jabez Branch, and saw evidence of both Coastal Plain (round gravel and sand lens) and Piedmont (rock outcrops), fall line attributes.


Emetic Russula, Russula emetica is a mushroom that grows in sphagnum peat wetlands.  It peaks in September and is poisonous if eaten.


I was sinking in marsh muck as I took this photo of turtlehead, Chelone glabra (OBL), an uncommon native perennial of wetlands.  Turtleheads rely almost exclusively on larger bees for pollination.  If a large bee is inside the flower while observing, it looks like the flower is talking.

The Maryland rare butterfly, the Baltimore black & white checkerspot absolutely loves and is somewhat dependent on the turtlehead.  If you see a turtlehead with holes in the foliage, odds are that the Baltimore caterpillar was there for dinner.  No holes in our foliage.


This section of stream valley had numerous bench seeps and with winterberry and sweetbay as the dominant shrub layer, lots of skunk cabbage, then with sweet pepperbush on the side slopes.


Heal-All, Prunella vulgaris is a perennial of damp soils and is alien to the U.S., originally coming from Europe.


Hen-of-the-Woods, Grifola frondosa is a native mushroom “blooming” in September through November.  The plant can be found at the base of living oak trees and can get from 10 to 20-inches wide and a few feet tall.  These shrooms often occur at the same location for many years in a row, and as they age, look just like leaf litter.  Record sized Hens have weighed upwards to 100-pounds in aggregation!


This old Coke bottle is acting like a terrarium, with some form of grass growing inside, and doing rather well.  I bet this plant remains green well after our first frost in late October.


Spindle-shaped Yellow Coral, Clavulinopsis fusiformis is an occasional, edible mushroom that blooms from September and into October.  In larger groups of fresh blooms, it looks like fire flames emanating from the ground.


We got webbed in the face on more than one occasion today.


Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens is one of two orchids that we observed today, with the other being cranefly orchid.  We kept an eye out for the craneflies, as they can be in flower this time of season.


We found a bottle dump, and I collected two creamer-top milk bottles in excellent condition.  Both 1-quart bottles said ‘The Annapolis Dairy Products Company’ on one side of the bottle, and then ‘Gold Standard Milk, The Hallmark of Richness’ on the other side.  The top of each bottle said ‘Cream Top, Reg US Pat Off.’ 

Really nice head-water, with persistent groundwater seeps, flowing in early October!