Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Mountain Pool Covered with Calla

With storms predicted for this afternoon, I abandoned my plans for a river paddle and chose instead to hike to a mountain pool. The pool lies high up in the Palmertown Mountains of Moreau Lake State Park, and my friend Laurie had showed me how to get there this spring. I remembered large mats of Sphagnum Moss surrounded by outcroppings of quartzite -- conditions, I thought, that might be right for orchids.

The trail led up, up, up through dark woods, much higher up than my weary legs remembered climbing before. I guess summer's heat and humidity and bugs make every hill feel steeper. Eventually, I saw a brightening up ahead, then at last a clearing, and there was the pool. But what had been open water last spring was now a solid mat of shiny green heart-leaved plants, ones that I didn't recognize.

Looking about, I found some of those plants in bloom with flowers that looked like Calla Lilies. Could this be Wild Calla, I wondered, thumbing my Newcomb's Wildflower Guide to the page that said, yes, that's indeed what they are. Calla palustris, to be exact. Also called Water Arum. A new flower for me.

Newcomb calls this a bog plant, so I searched around for other bog dwellers, but that Wild Calla had crowded out all other plants but itself. No orchids, alas. At the sunlit edge of the pool, however, I did find an interesting sedge that looked like none I had seen before.

Then the rain began, so I hurried back down the trail to my car, regretting I'd not brought a plastic bag to keep my camera dry.

But I did have to stop to photograph this Indian Pipe, with a much rufflier bloom than is usual.


Steve Young said...

Looks like Scirpus atrocinctus, black girdle bulrush.

Virginia said...

Palmertown Mountains? I can't believe I have never heard of this part of Moreau. I wonder if my parents have been there. Maybe we have, and just didn't know what it was called. Anyway, it looks beautiful, and I will check it out. Thanks.