Field course day 3 - Black Oak Savanna in Alderville

We went to Alderville Black Oak Savanna on the third day of the field course.  The different habitats (tall grass prairie, savanna, and woodland) support various types of flora and fauna.  Furthermore, the practices of prescribed burn and research on Karner Blue Butterfly and Wild Lupines offered the students different perspectives on the applications of their learned knowledge, such as ecological restoration, conservation, and pollination studies.

Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) male
There were many Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) dragonflies flying around us.

This is a male because it is red/orange.  The females have yellow markings instead.
Bumble bee with a nice "pollen basket" visiting vetch flowers.

There are many times when I thought a blue-eyed grass is just the Montane species (i.e., Sisyrinchium montanum), but we actually saw the Pointed blue-eyed grass (S. angustifolium) in the tall grass prairie habitat.  It has long-stalked flower cluster, whereas S. montanum has flower cluster emerging directly from the top of the stem.  This makes me wonder about the blue-eyed grasses I seen before.

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) in the Geranium (Geraniaceae) family.  It is very different from Herb-robert (G. robertianum) because of the larger flowers (25 to 40 mm wide versus 10 to 15 mm).

Wild geranium
Herbaceous carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea) male
Here is a new species for me - Herbaceous carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea) in the Carrion-flower (Smilacaceae) family.  This is a dioecious plant, and the stamen tell us that this is a male plant.  As the name suggests, the flower gives off a scent (again, it does not work on me) that attracts fly pollinators.

Bastard toadflex (Comandra umbellata) again.  This species showed up in several of the places we went to - Carden Plains, Alderville, and Eels Creek.

After touring through the different habitats, we briefly offered our services by planting seeded plugs of native plants into newly burned sites.  We then had lunch and were given a presentation about Black Oak savanna.

American toad (Bufo 
We went to Peter's Woods afterwards to identify more plants.  This small American toad (Bufo americanus) was found in the woodland.

Coming back to school, we went to Imagine the Marsh Conservation Area in Lakefield to look at some aquatic plants, and this interesting plant below.

Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
The Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula).  The reproductive structure of this plant is so weird that I still can't really grasp the different parts.  Thankfully, there's this website that describes it better than most sites I looked at.  Basically, the flowers are unisexual without any sepals or petals, and in some genera, flowers are found inside a specialized "false flower" (a.k.a. cyathium).

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