Preparation for Native Plant Meeting

Yesterday, Susan, Virginia and I went back up to Heber Springs, AR, about 2 hours north of Hot Springs. Heber Springs is the location for the Arkansas Native Plant Society meeting this weekend, and we went to scout out a couple of trails that Virginia, the president of ANPS, and Susan, the president elect, will be leading plant walks on.

Virginia and Susan key out an aster.

The first trail we went to was Collins Creek, where a pipe from the bottom of the Greer’s Ferry dam shoots icy water into a stream and creates artificial trout habitat.

Pipe from dam shooting cold water into Collins Creek.

It hasn’t rained much lately, so there isn’t too much to see botanically. Susan and Virginia searched for plants they could tell ANPS members about on the hikes. Our second location was called Bridal Veil Falls. When we arrived, the falls had dried to a tiny trickle.

Susan and Virginia at the top of the dry falls.

In the top left is a viewing platform, in the bottom left you can see Susan standing at the top of the falls. I was on a cliff above, taking pictures of moss.

Don’t you think there is a tardigrade in here somewhere??

We managed to find some noteworthy plants, including Castanea ozarkensis, Ozark Chinquapin, which is a sensitive species. We also saw several Spiranthes or ladies tresses orchids at the top of the falls.

Spiranthes sp.

And a more common oak species, recognizable by its unique gesture.

Quercus falcata, Southern red oak

And the ever stunning beautyberry.

Callicarpa americana, beautyberry.

We will head back up to Heber Springs this Friday for the meeting, which will take place at Quality Inn conference center and kick off with a potluck and plant auction, ANPS’s biggest fundraiser. I have less than 3 weeks left in my internship, so this will be a good finale of sorts. I hope everyone is having fun!

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