Spring at Mianus River Park

Written by charlie   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 15:04
Mianus River, Stamford, CT Wetland
Above is a photo of a stream feeding into the Mianus river at Mianus River park in Stamford, CT.  Due to the cold winter, everything is blooming late; at this point last year, the Eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) seen bordering the stream was almost fully grown, it's about a month behind.
Ive written about skunk cabbage before, but it bears repeating, its quite an amazing plant for being so unassuming.
A top 5 list of whats cool about skunk cabbage:
1) Its one of the earliest blooming wetland plants; it actively creates heat (thermogenic) in early spring to melt snow cover. The energy required to create the heat is equivalent to a small mouse or hummingbird.
2) Its a suprisingly long lived plant and can live well in excess of 100 years, some plants have been verified as being a few hundred years old.
3) When stalks are broken - it smells like its namesake, a skunk.
4) Closely related to the calla lilly. (This is not readily apparent but the Skunk Cabbages flower is lily like in appearance)
5) Skunk cabbage has a limited ability to move via contractile roots.  Since wetland soils  aren't as stable as upland soils, the plant pulls itself deeper into the earth over time and as soil conditions change.
A thorough article and great detailed photos of Skunk Cabbage from the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford CT,are here
Suggested Reading:
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 02:15

Nutritional Value of Spartina Grasses?

Written by charlie   
Monday, 14 April 2014 18:26

Over the weekend, I took a walk alongside a salt marsh, which had a placard with some information about the marsh and  local history.

Skimming through the text, it stated that the Spartina grasses are 5-10 more times more nutritious than corn, which piqued my curiosity, I hand never heard of this claim before. I searched the internet, but wasn't able to find supporting information.  The closest information I could find was from here, which states:

Immature plants of saltmeadow cordgrass provide moderate amounts of digestible protein for livestock (6.9 to 7.3 percent), but as plants
mature, protein decreases, and the calcium/phosphorus ratio is high, reducing phosphorus metabolism.

It makes no mention of such a high nutritional content. Is this true?  or isn't it?  I have my suspicions that it likely isn't, but you never know. Anyone?

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 18:37

Wetland Infographic

Written by charlie   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 15:56

I love inforgraphics, and it seems that everyone else does as well, a lot of info in an easily digested format.  Heres a good one detailing the mechanics of wetland losses on the Mississippi in Louisiana courtesty of Restore the Delta.





Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 16:01
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