16 Days of Rain!

We have had sixteen days of rain, with the likelihood of two more days, before it all clears out.  According to Washington, DC weather records, it’s been one of the coolest and rainiest late April and early May’s on record.  The field work must go on however, and here are some field photos from May 12, 2016, with a light drizzle off and on for much of the day.


Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) as shown by hand model, Leslie.


False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum).


I’d say that False Solomon’s Seal was at peak bloom today (May 12, 2016) at our study site in Prince George’s County, MD.


A beautiful aggregate patch of Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum).


The frond tops of maidenhair curl, looking like a horseshoe.


Virginia Pennywort (Obolaria virginica). 


Virginia pennywort is an uncommon spring ephemeral and native perennial that occurs in the southeast from Pennsylvania, south to Florida and west to Texas.  In Maryland, this plant is only found in the Piedmont and western shore coastal plain.  The easy to overlook plant has pale green leaves, with little chlorophyll and white flowers, and is partially saprophytic, obtaining nutrients from decaying humus.  It is also mycotrophic, relying on mycorrhizal fungi in the soil to get its nutrients.


Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides). 


Again, hand model Leslie shows us a Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans).


The obligate (OBL) wetland Yellow-Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus).


Yellow-Flag Iris is native to Europe, and occurs throughout the northeast, competing with our native Blue-Flag Iris.


Leslie takes a photo of a Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) with her iPhone . . .


. . . which resulted with this close-up picture.


We found a patch of Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale), with several individual basal leaves, ranging in color from gray-green to brown, and rippled like corduroy.  Puttyroot, a native perennial orchid, has a single basal leaf in fall, which persists through winter, and dying away in spring.


Within this aggregate, we found two puttyroot orchid stems just coming into flower.  A large majority of these plants will fail to produce flowers any given year.  What a treat!


A Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor) rests on the remains of a rusted mower deck in mature, steep slope woodlands.  The black racer has smooth scales, whereas the similar-looking black rat snake has keeled scales, which is a line that runs through each scale, like a raised keel on the underside of a boat.  This snake constantly twitched his tail in an attempt to intimidate us.


Old-Field Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis) was observed in open, sandy ground.


Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea).


This bunting breeds here in Maryland, but as an annual migrant, winters in Central America.


The alien invasive, Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).


Our native Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) blooms well later than all of the non-native Prunus hybrids.


The cherry had an assortment of insect pollinators working the flowers.

These overcast and rainy skies are getting old, but a misty day in the field is better than any day in the office!