While working on another notch in the black belt last week, I attended the way-cool Grasses, Sedges and Rushes class hosted by none other than the Master of grasses himself, Charles M. Allen, Phd. Kind of like Woodstock without the music; three days of peace and love of non-flowering grass-like plants.
After following in Dr. Allen’s footsteps for for many years, I have learned that most-always, when he plans an event, it is usually a dry day and last week was no exception. I don’t know how he does that but must have something to do with communicating on the level of the grass Gods.
There was a total of eight students present, most all, wildlife biologists with the State of Loosiana and Rick Webb, of Looisiana Growers nursery, and myself.
Of course, Dr. Allen knows all the good spots to find cool plants and so he did. In Kisatchie National Forest, our classroom for the three day event, we found lots to see.
above, click on photo to enlarge, …after we crossed through the Baygall (Pine Hammock), we stepped onto the Holy ground of a sweet Toothache grass meadow, in full flower. An interesting thing about Toothache grass is that it will only sparsely produce inflorescence (flowers) when fire has been used the previous season. A true pyrogenic plant, it needs a burn to actually trigger flowering, and hence, seed. No fire = very few flowers and seed.
see the youtube video link I shot of the dancing swaying Toothache grass at Byrd’s Creek.
White Topped sedge, Star grass, Dichromena odorata among the diversity of the hillside bog plant community. Not too shabby.
Long Leaf pine seedling recruitment via natural fire
Skeleton grass, Gymnopogon species, above
the wide strapped leaves and fruiting parts of Carex virens at the edge of Fullerton Lake, north of Pitkin, La., Kisatchie. It is helpful, to really be able to appreciate sedges, to look at the flowering parts with a 20X magnification hand lens. It will amaze you, how much there is to these plants when you look at them with magnified eyes.
Between classes, I was humping it in the Forest, collecting some of the sedges we were working with. This one, Carex intumescens, Bladder Sedge, has nice-sized fruiting heads.
Biologist Chad Gaspard, of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, made a birthday during class. Rick Webb lights up the candles in a Blueberry pie that Top Chef Sue Allen made.
Blue Bachelor Buttons, Lavender-rosey-colored Monarda citriodora, and Coreopsis tinctoria in color with Clasping Coneflower just starting up. These annual plants will die off soon and the growth of perennial grasses and native flowering herbs will begin.
ARBORETUM SPRING BOTANY WALK (Adults)
Saturday, May 30th 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Explore the Arboretum’s native plant exhibits with Dr. Mac Alford, Herbarium Curator and Associate Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. After a short indoor discussion of plant taxonomy and ecology, the program will move outside for a field walk through the grounds. Free for members, $5 non-members. Register by May 29.
for more info, call or check the website http://crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu
Gotta go! got work to do….
That’s all, folks!