The November Lake Shore – Part 2

The November lake shore community at the Falls Lake State Recreation Area is alive with the final blooms of a wide assortment of flowering plants.  One thing they have in common is their unusually small size, attributed primarily to their late germination and rush to bloom before heavy freezes.  Keeping the plants company are a very large number of Cricket Frogs enjoying the mid day sun during the chilly  temperatures.

Cricket Frog

Cricket Frog

Lurking just behind the seedling Eryngium prostratum (featured in the previous blog) is Ludwigia palustris – Marsh Seedbox -one of the 3 species of Ludwigia growing together along the shore.  Although Ludwigia palustris is a native, it is still considered an invasive and can be a problem in some parts of the lake.  The recumbent, trailing growth pattern gives the impression of the plants flowing across the ground.  The tiny flowers at the leaf axils are difficult to see; a red arrow points to one flower in the following photo.

Ludwigia palustris

Ludwigia palustris

A couple of closer looks at the tiny flowers.

Ludwigia palustris Flower

Ludwigia palustris
Flower

IMG_1085a

Diminutive Bidens frondosa – Common or Devil’s Beggarticks – are blooming here as well.  These native annuals are commonly 1 to 3 feet tall, but here they are 4 to 8 inches tall in bloom.

Bidens frondosa Common Beggarticks

Bidens frondosa
Common Beggarticks

Bidens frondosa Common Beggarticks

Bidens frondosa
Common Beggarticks

Occasionally tiny yellow Ludwigia blooms can be seen among the E. prostratum.  Although Ludwigia alternifolia – Seedbox – is the commonest of this genus along the shore, the blooming plants are actually Ludwigia decurrens – Wingleaf Primrose Willow.   A red arrow points to a seedbox on one of the plants.

Ludwigia decurrens Wingleaf Primrose-willow

Ludwigia decurrens
Wingleaf Primrose-willow

The distinctive shape and length of the seedbox and the winged stems help to identify these plants as Ludwigia decurrens.

Ludwigia decurrens Distinctive Seedbox

Ludwigia decurrens
Distinctive Seedbox

Ludwigia decurrens Winged Stem

Ludwigia decurrens
Winged Stem

The tallest plants here, still only a foot or so off the ground, are the Persicaria hydropiperoides – Swamp Smartweed.   On the terminal racemes, the  buds are relatively sparse and interrupted along the tip of the stem.

Persicaria hydropiperoides Flower

Persicaria hydropiperoides
Flower

The joints of these plants are distinctive.  The cilia (hair-like structures) protrude from the top of the  ocrea (the sheath around the stem) and are about the same length as the ocrea.

Persicaria hydropiperoides Ocrea and Cilia

Persicaria hydropiperoides
Ocrea and Cilia

There are an estimated 230 miles of varying shoreline habitat at Falls Lake!   All of the species mentioned above and in the previous article lie within a 50 ft length of shoreline.  I counted 6 additional species blooming in this same area (for example: Symphyotrichum pilosum – Frost Aster, Persicaria longiseta – Oriental Lady’s Thumb….) and I am sure I missed many as most are so small.

Herb Amyx

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