Mattawoman & Chicamuxen
Many of the points, islands and coves on the Mattawoman and Chicamuxen belong to the Navy at Indian Head, Main Side and Stump Neck.
Leslie and I took Navy personnel to see two lotus beds located on federal property, and other sites that had significant plant species.
Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) was peaking. Water Stargrass (Heteranthera dubia) is now an obvious player amongst the wild celery, Eurasian water milfoil, hydrilla and southern naiad.
We motored through the uppermost reaches of the Chicamuxen and the SAV was compressed at low tide. The water was nearly crystal clear to five-feet and we saw dozens of cruising largemouth bass working the outside edge of the SAV line. This photo shows a water stargrass plant at the edge of the hydrilla bed.
A Maryland blue crab swims across the top of the hydrilla bed, kicking-up captured sediment as he goes. Does this crab realize that he is in near zero-percent salinity?
The inflorescence of wild rice (Zizania aquatica) is a common sight of the high marsh. Out wild rice occurs from Maryland, south to Florida and west to Texas.
The beautiful Turk’s-Cap Lily (Lilium superbum), super indeed.
Turk’s-Cap Lily can grow to 7-feet tall and has a brief bloom time in mid-summer. It grows in wetland meadows and sunny shorelines and does not have a floral scent. If you watch for any length of time, you will be sure to see a hummingbird. This plant is native, occurring throughout the eastern United States.
Mystery solved. Leslie and I have observed that Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea, aka yellow pond lily) takes a beating more often than not each growing season. We did not know if it was disease, salinity wedge, infestation or what.
We ran our jon-boat into a patch of spatterdock and picked a few stems. Immediately we were covered in insects. In this photo you will see both the larvae (lower) and adult bugs (upper) of the skeletonizing Water Lily Leaf Beetle (Galerucella nymphaeae).
The grazing water lily leaf beetle is native, lays eggs on emerging spatterdock in June, and both larvae and adults feed heavily on the host spatterdock. The insect will overwinter in plant parts, and drowning is the main mortality factor. We noticed that spatterdock that always remains submerged was unaffected.
We surmise that the leaf beetle is similar to the locust leaf miner that devastates black locust trees each growing season, but that the locust refoliates as necessary without dying-off. It sucks to be a spatterdock, with waterlily leaf beetles around.
With our Navy personnel guests, we motored in close to get a few voucher photos of the Maryland State rare (S2), American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea).
The loyus is a large flower, and absolutely strikingly beautiful. All of the lotus aggregates have been field-located and mapped into our report.