Meadow, sandplain, pondshore, and creekbank -- four different habitats in one morning's explorations! We are lucky to have such a variety of places to explore, all very close together. My friends Sue and Ruth and I made the most of the opportunity Tuesday morning, when we met at the Woods Hollow Nature Preserve in Milton, New York.
We started out in the wet meadow, just off the Northline Road parking area. We had heard that there were orchids growing there, and we meant to find them.
A much sturdier plant, called Scouring Rush (Equisetum hyemale), occupied a large area, raising elaborate spore-containing cones atop handsome segmented jade-green stalks.
The clincher turned out to be the number of florets in each flower bundle. According to Newcomb, New York Ironweed's bundles contain between 30 and 50, while the Tall species has bundles that contain between 13 and 30. I took a flower bundle apart and arrayed the florets to count them: 22 in all. So the ironweed that grows along the Burl Trail turned out to be V. gigantea after all!
Now I have to go back to my 2017 blog post in which I reported first discovering ironweed along this trail. If my mistake remains in that post, it's time to correct the error!