Maramech Phenology

phenology (n): study of the influence of climate on recurring natural phenomena
1881, from German (phänologisch, Karl Fritsch, 1853) from Latin phaeno-, from Greek phaino-, from phainein “to show”

Show yourselves, little plants of Maramech Forest Preserve! It’s early April, time for some of you to wake up.

Phenology of Skunk Cabbage and Marsh Marigold
Hello skunk cabbage & marsh marigold. Laying low this year after last year’s early arrival eh?

Maramech Forest Preserve Ribes black currant gooseberry phenology bud burst
Hello extremely small currant leaves. Welcome back after your hibernation. I hope it was comfortable inside of those leaf buds.

Maramech Forest Preserve Viburnum lentago nannyberry phenology bud burst flower buds
Hello Viburnum flower buds. When you burst you look like brains.

The following plants are spring ephemerals.
These guys live in woodlands and bloom early in the year before the tree leaves come out.
That way, they can take advantage of the higher sunlight levels.

Maramech Forest Preserve Trillium leaves mosaic phenology
Hello tiny trillium leaves. You have an exquisite mosaic.

Maramech Forest Preserve cutleaf toothwort Cardamine
Hello cutleaf toothwort?

Maramech Forest Preserve Claytonia virginica spring beauty
Hello baby spring beauty?

Maramech Forest Preserve Dicentra
Hello tiniest Dicentra spp. flowers I’ve ever seen.

Maramech Forest Preserve Dicentra
Are you a squirrel corn or a Dutchman’s breeches? If I’d looked at your bulblets I’d know.
Anyhow, your foliage is already magnificent.

Maramech Forest Preserve waterleaf Hydrophyllum
Hello little waterleaf. Nice spots.

Maramech Woods Forest Preserve in Spring

Photos from Maramech Woods Nature Preserve / Maramech Forest Preserve on March 26th, 2012.

maramech marsh marigold skunk cabbage
The flatwoods is rife with Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage, foreground) and Caltha palustris (marsh marigold, background).

maramech signage


Although the entire forest preserve is approximately 90 acres, about half of it is a dedicated Nature Preserve (48 acres). Additionally, approximately 70 acres are an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) site. The interplay of which areas get deemed which designation and quality is interesting to me. For instance, it is included in categories II and III by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (IL DNR, September 2011). Category III includes all Nature Preserves, which means 48 acres are included by default. Category II includes “specific suitable habitat for state-listed species or state-listed species relocations,” which means that about 22 acres outside of the 48-acre nature preserve either contained state-listed species when the INAI conducted field surveys, or was deemed high enough quality to be considered for relocation of state-listed species. The other 20 acres consists of “cultural” areas such as the picnic pavilion, parking lot, turf grass, and perhaps low-quality natural areas.

The Illinois Nature Preserve Commission site says:
“This diverse northeastern Illinois woodland is located in the Grand Prairie Section for the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The preserve is a complex of sedge dominated wet savanna/northern flatwoods, seep springs and wet-mesic to dry-mesic upland forest with associated successional fields, upland forest and a small pine plantation as buffer. The tract is moderately disturbed, but is important because of the unique interplay of several different natural communities.”

maramech winter echinacea
Echinacea in winter. Anyone have a good way to distinguish E. purpurea from E. pallida seedheads in the winter? The individual seeds are different–Prairie Moon nursery shows E. pallida seeds have a dark band across each one, whereas E. purpurea lacks this band, but I’m curious if there is a general gestalt difference. Here’s looking at you, Echinacea Project; I know y’all are E. angustifolia but you may know, eh?

maramech tree trunk

maramech mayapple
I can’t help but keep posting photos of my favorite spring plant (Podophyllum peltatum, mayapple).

maramech sporophytes
Sporophytes.

More about Maramech: Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Into the Wild: Maramech Woods, spring 2009