Old Colchester Preserve

Old Colchester Preserve & Park, Fairfax County Park Authority, Woodbridge, VA.


A view of the FCPA Old Colchester Preserve as taken from across the Occoquan River at the Belmont Bay Marina.


Interpretive signage at the Belmont Bay waterfront trail that discusses the Douge Indians and the likely village called Tauxenent that occurred at or near Old Colchester at the time of “first contact” with Captain John Smith.


The following series of photos were taken at an area being considered as a coastal plain depressional wetland or possibly a non-riverine wet flatwood/hardwood forest.  Gary Fleming of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program led a team evaluation of this and one other site.  The term “upland depression swamp” may not be appropriate as it more typifies Piedmont systems.  After Mr. Fleming’s review of data, he will be better able to classify the discrete forest type.  He did mention a Nature Conservancy site called Alexander Burger Flatwoods near Fredericksburg that may be similar.

The above photo is of Dichanthelium dichotomum, variant ramilosum (FAC), a fairly common panic grass.


Slender Spikerush, Eleocharis tenuis (FACW+).


Helmet Skullcap. also known as helmet flower or hyssop skullcap, Scutellaria integrifolia (FACW).


Blue Sedge, Carex glaucodea, occurring on the margins of the wetlands.


Polytrichum, with 15 species of this moss occurring in the greater Washington, DC vicinity.


Black Highbush Blueberry, Vaccinium fuscatum (think of fus as fuzz, with the undersides of the leaves being modestly pubescent as shown in the next photo bent over the twig).


Another common coastal plain highbush blueberry is Vaccinium formosum, Southern Blueberry, which has a non-hairy, clear underside.

The highbush blueberry that we call Vaccinium corymbosum is common, but much more confined to the Piedmont.


Upland Spreading Sedge, Carex laxiculmis.


Round Seed Panic Grass, Dichanthelium polyanthes sphaerocarpon.


Lady Fern, Athyrium filix-femina.


Fowl Mannagrass, Glyceria striata (OBL).


Leafy Bulrush, also known as leafy woolgrass, Scirpus polyphyllus.


DCR forest inventory data plot for classification purposes.


Smooth Carrionflower, Smilax herbacea (FAC) . . .


. . . not to be mistaken for Wild Yam, Dioscorea villosa.


Star Sedge, Carex radiata (meaning radiating out from the center).

A signature tree of this site is the Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor, which is slow-growing and long-lived.  We also observed southern magnolia, turk’s cap lily and chinquapin.

Arrowwood, Viburnum dentatum can be lumped with V. recognitum, as plant taxonomists are lumping this species, rather than splitting.