As Stewardship Manager, I need to know which plants are growing in our parks. This summer, I’m doing a botanical inventory of the flora (plants) at O’Connor Nature Park, on the corner of Mead and Rochester. This park is fairly small and has no trails for access, so here is a rare glimpse into the interior of the park!
The emergent marsh in the center of the park has a floating mat. Yup, it is just what it sounds like… a mat of sedges, cattail, and other plants floating on the water. When you gently bounce on it, the whole mat ripples. It is not safe to walk on the mat, so please don’t try!
There was a lot of green out in the middle of the marsh, so this splash of purple caught my eye.
I also found a huge mushroom growing at the base of a tree. Any idea what it is?
I also found some problems at O’Connor, primarily a growing infestation of Phragmites, or common reed (the scientific name is Phragmites australis). We plan to treat the Phragmites later this summer when in is flowering. If we don’t wait until it is flowering, the herbicides won’t be transported to the rhizomes of the plant, and the problem will be just as bad next year. In addition to the really obvious huge plants along Mead Road and Rochester Road, there are several small pockets of this tall grass scattered along the edge of the marsh in the middle of the park. If we don’t begin to control the Phragmites this year, it will be increasingly expensive and difficult to control in the future, and the damage to our native wetland plant communities will be greater.