Friday, June 30, 2017

June iSite: Virginia Creeper

{cross posted from moira albanase via facebook}

For my June iSite experience, I decided to make it a family event. A car full of sunscreen, snacks, and hats brought my daughter, sister and mother to Scenic Vista in Columbiana County Ohio. While the younger two got comfy in the hammocks, my mother and I ventured down the forest trails. It was a beautiful sunny day, but the paths were cool and the air was heavy. It was not long before we noticed that it was more than tree leaves that sheltered us from the sun. Creeping vines were making their way skyward, using the tree trunks as both foundation and highway.

We identified Virginia Creeper, Poison Ivy, Grape Vines, and some mystery plant, all with different strategies for getting height. Virginia Creepers would find crevices in the bark of a tree and situate themselves in the shelter of the cranny. This would create a chaotic upward growth pattern for the vine. Poison Ivy would create thick, hairy vines that shot straight up a tree regardless of the bark texture. The mystery plant was growing in a large circle around, but not touching the tree, only reaching out for support once it was too tall to support itself. This created the ghost of a hoop skirt and bodice around the well-dressed tree. Grape vines grew on everything they touched, even collapsing a tree that had grown top heavy with vines.

We were all interested in the different techniques the plants were using and what that might mean for its relationship to the supporting flora. But no amount of sunscreen could protect us from bugs, and the hammocks were becoming more like swings. It was time to head home, and start researching for the July iSite: process!

No comments:

Post a Comment