Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New running route, New plants to learn

I just went for a walk along the country road I now live off of (this one's paved). It'll make for a nice running route. It's lined by active ag fields (some run by the University) instead of fallow pastures and has a number of wildflowers and weeds that I already don't recognize. There are also at least 4 grasses, which I won't even attempt to ID unless I'm given reason to.

I was captivated by the tall, rippling roadside grasslands I saw in southern Virginia this past weekend (they reminded me of my childhood Plains - there were even some clumps of prickly pear!). I was all ready to post a rant blasting PA for their ugly, ragged mowed highway corridors when I climbed north into Harrisonburg and the tall grasses gave way to short ones and scrubyness - so I guess it's not just obnoxious landscaping's fault. I don't know if the soil/climate changed or the southern end of 81 is heavily seeded by the local pasture grasses (the ecoregion map provided few clues) but I'll hopefully have the presence of mind next time I'm down there to grab some flowers to ID.

I have the means: a 1935 copy of Manual of the Grasses of the United States.

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