Gary

 The Ubiquitous Moss

Mosses are primitive plants that come in many forms and grow in a variety of habitats. These plants produce spores, not seeds and the spores are so light that they are carried into the atmosphere and around the world. The haircap moss grows on nearly every continent on earth. Up close, it looks like a […]

Wild Goblets

Wild Goblets

As I have indicated in the last few posts, winter woodlands are at first look, devoid of color. Yet if you take the time to look closely, you can find colorful treasures dangling from shrubs, and growing on the forest floor. One bit of light green that grows amongst mosses on logs and exposed nutrient […]

British Soldiers

British Soldiers

I love finding a bit of color in the drab winter landscape. The eye-catching British soldier lichen pops out in the winter woodlands. It grows on fallen decaying logs and tree stumps. Lichens are two organisms that live together for the benefit of each other. Microscopically, you would see a fungus with algae growing on […]

The Turkey’s Tail

The Turkey’s Tail

The naked winter forest in North America provides an opportunity to find cocoons of overwintering moth larvae, dried wasp galls and fungi that are often overlooked by the average hiker. I love spending the winter in the woodlands to find these organisms. During a recent walk in the Maryland woods, I came across a fungus […]

The Vine I Despise

The Vine I Despise

Walking in a winter wetland forest, in the eastern U.S. my eyes are drawn to green leafless vines growing along the edge of the trail. Numerous spiky thorns protrude from the green stems and small clusters of bluish-black berries dangle in the light breeze. It is the nasty catbriar. Its thorns remind me of a […]

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar

A plant that brings color to the winter fields and interdunal swales is the eastern red cedar. It is not a true cedar; it is a juniper. This evergreen tree takes on many forms depending on where it grows. Along the beach front, just behind the primary dune, eastern red cedars grow more prostate. Sea […]

A Winter Refuge

A Winter Refuge

Although the woodlands look bleak in the winter, one tree provides a bit of greenery and shelter in pine barren woods in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Pitch pine is an evergreen tree with stiff pine needles bundled in sets of threes and short round pine cones. Its thick corky-like bark protects it from wildfires. […]