field trip 2

Two Mosses

Thuidium delicatulum

Thuidium delicatulum, or common fern moss, is recognizable by its pinnate branching that appears “fern-like”. The stems and branches have a fuzzy/hairy appearance. The leaves have a single costa. This moss is a pleurocarp with lance-shaped costate leaves. I found this fern moss at Fernwood State Forest, in a woodsy area along the hiking trail, growing atop of a fallen tree.

Syntrichia papillosa

I found this moss growing on a tree at Fernwood State Forest. It was along the hiking trail that goes into the woody forest. This moss is an acrocarp with tongue shaped leaves. Syntrichia papillosa is commonly called Star Moss because the oblong/ovate leaves are arranged in a star shape.







Two Ferns

Botrypus virginianus

Botrypus virginianus is known as rattlesnake fern. It got his name because the terminal portion has globose sporangia that resembles a rattlesnake’s tail. The leaves are bright green, pinnate, lance shaped, and taper to a pointed tip. Rattlesnake fern has a heteromorphic frond type. The frond dissection type is tripinnate.

Thelypteris noveboracensis

Thelypteris novaboracensis, also known as New York Fern, has a pinnate-pinnatifid frond direction type and a monomorphic frond. The frond is tapered at the top and bottom. It is a perennial plant that naturally grows in woodlands or wetlands. This fern can survive and outcompete other plants in soil pH ranges of below 4. The fern features pinnately compound leaves that are light green. The leaflet margins are smooth. Caterpillars of moths feed on the leaflets of this fern.

Threats to Trees

Ulmus rubra


Above is a picture of a leaflet from a Slippery Elm. Many species of elms suffer from Dutch Elm Disease. This is a disease brought on by a fungus that destroys elm trees through vascular wilt. This fungus is spread by elm bark beetles. One way to stop the disease is by pruning the weak or dying branches. Insecticides are also used to kill the beetles and prevent the disease. Another way to stop it is to inject the elms with fungicide.

Quercus alba


These are pictures of leaflets from a White Oak tree. As you can see, the tree is suffering from leaflet damage. As you can see in the picture below, nearly every leaflet has chunks missing. Oak trees are plagued by many leaf eating pests. Among the most common are tent caterpillars, oakworms, cankerworms, and leafrolllers. You can get rid of these pests by applying a biopesticide.
















Elaeagnus umbellata

Elaeagnus umbellata is commonly known as Autumn Olive. Autumn Olive is a deciduous shrub with thorny branches. The leaves are alternate and simple. The margins are entire or smooth. The leaflets are green to grey-green and oval shaped with pointed tips. Fruits from this plant ripen in August-November, and are red juicy drupes that contain one seed. This shrub is an invasive species that originated in Asia. It is drought, disease, and insect resistant, which makes it such a successful invasive species. The seeds from the drupe are eaten by birds, and still viable after it goes through their digestive tract.


Ribes cynosbati

Ribes cynosbati is commonly called prickly gooseberry. This shrub has alternate leaves that are simple and lobed/serrated. Prickly gooseberry has smooth and and prickly branches on the same plant. The shrub produces flowers  with a short tubular calyx, 4-5 lobes and 4-5 stamens. Each fertilized flower develops into a globoid berry. All of the berries have conspicuous prickles, ergo the plant’s name “prickly” gooseberry.

The pollen and nectar of the flowers attract bees, wasps, flies, ants and other insects.Some insects feed on the foliage of the shrub, which can lead to minor destruction. These shrubs provide protective cover and nesting habitats for many birds.