First nature walk at Bagley Nature Area 7.2.21

Nature walk summary by Kelly Beaster

Below is a field trip summary for the Arrowhead Native Plant Explorers first nature walk at Bagley Nature Area in Duluth on July 2nd, 2021.

Bagley Nature Area from Lot U downhill along xc ski trail to Rock Pond and back. The ski trail ran through mature mixed hardwoods with sugar maple and red oak as co-dominants and basswood and yellow birch as lesser dominant canopy trees. Several paper birch and elm were also present. In the subcanopy, ironwood was the most common shrub with dogwood family species and some hazelnuts present. The understory consisted of typical maple forest associates, such as red and white dogbane, wild ramps, canada mayflower, solomon’s seal, and pensylvania sedge.

The group that traveled to Rock Pond and back had a specific interest in wild edibles and medicinal plants. Plants of note that fit that category included, the edible oyster mushroom growing on a dead aspen, wild bergamot by the pond which is used to make earl grey tea, and spotted touch-me-not (or jewel-weed) that is told will lessen the pain from a bee sting or stinging nettles. The plant community surrounding Rock Pond consisted of northern meadow, sun-loving plants, and aside from the medicinal and edible plants, many flowers were blooming, such as northern bedstraw, common milkweed which had a caterpillar on the plant, and golden alexanders which are the host plant of the black swallowtail butterfly. Along the trailside edges and down the historic run from the ski jump, many invasive species were noted, such as valerian and tansy which are both said to assist in sleep and plantain which is known as a substitute for an antibiotic in wounds. This was still fun to discuss their medicinal uses, which were likely the reason why many of them are here today.

Notable plants:

  • Tilia americana
  • Solidago canadensis
  • Ostrya virginiana
  • Parthenocissus inserta
  • Solidago flexicaulis
  • Poa alsodes
  • Bromus inermis
  • Rubus parviflorus
  • Lotus corniculatus
  • Actaea rubra & Actaea pachypoda
  • Athyrium filix-femina
  • Aegopodium podagraria
  • Onoclea sensibilis
  • Aralia nudicaulis
  • Carex pensylvanica
  • Gymnocarpium dryopteris
  • Cornus rugosa

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