Haw River State Park flower tour!
Enjoy a virtual flower hike at Haw River State Park as Ranger Lindsey discusses the many different flower types and explains the beautiful difference in wildflowers in the park.
everyone. I'm Ranger Lindsay at Hall River State Park today, with so much stuff in blue, I thought would be a great opportunity to stop and smell the wildflowers. Let's go see what we can find on the most basic definition of flower is the reproductive structure of flowering plants. So they're all gonna have the same basic parts. Here's a general diagram of a flower. You see, it's got the pedals, these air, usually the colorful, showy part of the flower that kind of catches are. I, um You've got the male part over here, which altogether is called the Stamen, and the statement is made up of a filament right here that supports the anther up top. And anther is what produces the pollen, which is the male reproductive cell for the flower. So either on the same flower or on a completely different flower, you're gonna have the female parts which are called altogether the pistol so up top of the pistol you've got, the stigma is a sticky. This is where the pollen gets deposited. If the flower is successfully pollinated and then the pollen would travel down this long to call the style on deposit here, the base called an ovary. Within the over the pollen develops into a fruit containing seeds, and the seeds contain the genetic material of the plant. So if the seeds are successfully planted in the ground, it will sprout and create a new plant with new flowers and start process all over again. So guys, flowers can be found from the tiniest of ground plants and vines up two bushes and tall trees. They come in all different shapes and sizes, with one goal in mind to draw in a pollinator. That way, each flower is kind of like a billboard trying to draw in animals but using their shape, color, size and sent drawn a pollinator. Also, because flowers come in such a variety, you may not even know what you're looking at is a flower. Would you believe me if I told you this thing down here, there's a flower from an oak tree. If you pick it up, you can kind of rub it between your fingers. If you're not super allergic to pollen, let it fall. Look at all those manuals. They're some of those oak flowers again, but this time there on the tree must take a look See here. We've got a nice patch of blue. They're really tiny flower. Here's another type of bullet you might see in your day. It's even tinier than the other one we looked at. These ones are actually called tiny blue. It's over here. The ironwork tried. We have a glorious example of our state flower growing on the flowering dogwood trees. So when you look at this, you think Wow, that was a pretty white flour. You'd actually be wrong. See that white part right there? Those aren't actually pedals those air called BRACTs, which is a scientific word which in this case means modified leaves those little green and yellow things right there. Those were the actual dogwood flowers. Here's a common understory tree. We haven't Hall River State Park, which I'm sure you've also seen from the roadsides. Um, but this native decision mystery is eastern. Red Bud has some bright pink and light purple flowers that come out in early spring. This tree is also a member of the beans, peas and lagoons. Family for Basie? A. So you'll see in the coming weeks as the fruits emerged, it kind of looks like a bean pod. So close upon those flowers I just saw zebra swallowtail butterfly go by is really cool, but so fast I couldn't get it on camera, but I didn't see this pretty flower. So this is green and gold. This flower flowers and early spring and may continue throughout the summer, sporadically to bloom. But it does well in sun the partial shade, which probably explains why I'm finding it so close to the street. Here's a nice little patch of spring beauties. This flower is still pretty small, very white. And then it's got distinctive pink stripes on the bubble, as you can see here, Um, so there's a general spring beauty variety. And then there's also one called Carolina Spring Beauty. Basically the differences. Carolina grows at higher elevations and has broader leaves. I'm not too much of a botany and don't want to pick the flower, but just look inside of that structure. So papa trees have what you would call perfect flowers, which means they have both male and female parts within the same flower. But they're female and male at different times, so they act kind of like in perfect flowers. Um, when the flower starts out as female, it has a pistol with a sticky stigma. Up at the top is receptive the pollen. After a few days, um, the stigmas loses. Its sticking is a kind of withers away, and then pollen develops in this base right here. So you see all those white Granules that is immature pollen. When it is ready, it will turn brown and dusty, and then the flour is functionally mail, so a pop poetry cannot self pollinate to reproduce, usually in the wild to reproduce. They will just create additional sprouts off of their root system, and that will create additional trees. But those trees air genetically similar on they cannot pollinate each other's flowers. The primary pollinators for these flowers because they have this yeasty, musty odor, kind of like bread dough is actually flies and beetles, which, unlike bees, they are not the best of pollinators. It's another reason this plant has some trouble creating fruits if you are lucky enough to have one of these fruits in your lifetime, they were said to be Thomas Jefferson's favorite and interesting fact about the leaves of the pop, all like other plants on the custard apple family is that they contain toxic compounds. A few urban wars will feed on them. A notable exception is the butterfly we saw earlier the zebra swallowtail, because they eat these leaves on the store, the toxic compounds in their bodies, and this provides an additional defense for them, since nothing really wants to eat a poisonous butterfly. So guys, I want to stop here for a minute. 2020 is North Carolina State parks is year of fire, and this is one of the tracks of land. We burned a Hall River just last year around this time, so Fire has had a very important role in shaping the flower diversity that we see. Even today. The native people of North America used fire for thousands of years, pays it is a tool that both drive big game, and to sort of clear the forest understory for improved visibility and travel. So back then, rock outcroppings, precipitation and water bodies created natural firebreaks. Unlike the trails and service roads we sometimes have to use today toe burn tracts of land. But over thousands of years, thes frequent low intensity fires set by both Native Americans and by lightning promoted more open forests with an abundance of grasses, Forbes and shrubs. So, naturally, the diversity of wildflowers and other leafy plants on the forest war went up. This will. So I'm here at the park office and we have the Love Carolina Jess Ammen or Carolina Jasmine, which has been the official state flower of not our state but South Carolina since 1924. So just a man is a native evergreen vine that often climbs trees in our woodlands here in the North Carolina Piedmont. I bet you guys of this one right in your very own backyard. This here is a dandy lion. Now, Dandelion is actually an English corruption of the French name for the flower, which is lion's tooth. Or don't the Leone, which comes from the tooth. Lex orations on the leaves here at the bottom of the flower. Um, just analyze. They're not native to the U. S. They were introduced here by European settlers a long time ago, and now they're pretty widespread. We'd throughout the U. S. And Canada. You can find recipes online for dandelion tea or dandelion wine's, um and I've heard you can also eat them the salad. You can eat the greens of them and salads. I wouldn't advise it because you shouldn't just go eat stuff that you find in the woods. But another thing why these are actually so bad is that they are a good source of nectar and pollen on early source. They might not be the choicest nectar and pollen available, but in harsh times. You know he's got to take what they can get so similar to Dan the Lion and that it is a non native, fast growing weeds. You've got this guy right here, carpet bugle or bugle weed, just as a general rule in modern times, you don't want to plant a non native slash exotic species in a natural landscape because whether the species is a plant or an animal, whenever you bring over an exotic species, you're putting it in a place where it does not have any natural predators, diseases or pests, which gives it sometimes an unfair competitive advantage. And it can crowd out native plants and drastically changed the landscape. I'm not blaming you, Carpet bugle. I'm just saying plant lovers need to be careful in their choices and plant native whenever possible. As I continue my walk around the building, I come to this Another site, probably from your home. Very backyard. Um, so this right here is a mature dandy lion? No, it's got the same. Syria did leaves at the base, Same hollow stem and then up top. And so that bright yellow crown of flowers We now have this white, puffy sort of spiritual thing. This is what the mature dandelion looks like once it's been pollinated. Eso gonna pick one of these little seeds and see if I can focus. Um, so each individual seed is attached to this white structure. That's kind of like a parachute. Individually, it's called a Pappas P a P p us. All together, they're plural called pap I, which is really fun to say. And, um, these little half I, um, are like parachutes, and they kind of helped carry the seeds on a wind. Hen bit is one of these introduced weeds. It's from Europe. It's pretty hard to eradicate. A single plant can produce anywhere from 200 to 2000 seeds, and these seeds can remain dormant in the soil for decades, so it's probably here to stay. Um, but it's not all bad news. I've read that box turtles will actually eat the foliage of the plant and apparently, Basil. Visit the flowers, too. Here's a patch of Perry Winkle. This is one of those invasive introduced species CEO. It's kind of like taken over pretty flowers. I can see why people like it in there gardens, but does not belong here in the park. I did not know that sound came out of a squirrel. More, you know? Well, that wraps it up for May. Thank you guys for joining me today on my wildflower hike. And please know that the things that we saw today the plants and the animals, they are right in your own backyard. So please be responsible. Explore locally and maintain social distancing guidelines. You will be amazed at what you confined. My guys