Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Silver Maple Flowers Among a Tangle of Invasives

I am spending a few days as a first-time attendee at the Northeast Natural History Conference in Springfield, Mass. Yesterday I attended a workshop on invasive plants--how to i.d. and map them. We learned about the Outsmart App (if you have a smartphone this is fun, easy, and contributes to a national database). The Outsmart folks have created several short educational videos on some of the common invasives such as glossy buckthorn and check out this invasive star-studded video.

On a raw overcast spring day we walked Springfield's waterfront along the Connecticut River. A spot conducive for invasive plants, and we found plenty: tree of heaven, multiflora rose, bittersweet, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, burning bush, Japanese barberry.

As far as I know we don't yet have tree of heaven in New Hampshire. Despite its heavenly name, this tree grows fast and tall and is not a nice addition to the waterfront. As with most invasives it is a heavy seed producer and crowds out the natives.
In the midst of the invaders we found beauty in one of the classic native trees of a wooded floodplain: silver maple. It's arching branches host the earliest tree blossoms--bundles of red and yellowish flowers.

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