Posts Tagged ‘moss’

To The Woods …

We finally had a sunny day, so Buffy and I went to the woods at Stone Face.

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The caddisfly is a small moth-like insect. Their larvae collect whatever they can and bind it together for a protective case to grow in.  These were 1/4 inch long at the most. They will continue adding on until they’re full grown.

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Water movement and the resulting moving reflections always fascinate me.


Every time I see these two trees, I wish they were in my backyard. Grandkids would have a lot of fun with them. Wildlife probably couldn’t resist them either.

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Corky warts on bark of a hackberry tree look like a city of futuristic buildings.


I was unable to identify the shelf fungi. It had a smooth surface underneath.

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Obviously, this tree stood out! I have no idea what removed all the bark almost to the top of it. There were only a few small limbs at the top of the tree.

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The bark pieces at the base of the tree would’ve been only a small fraction of what was removed. It had to have been a determined mammal! This translates to a lot of bark removed and transported to ???

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Somehow this nondescript moss and script lichen caught my attention. Is the script lichen a messenger for the plant world?

A Thorny Vine

 Ice from a late February storm hadn’t completely melted when Buffy and I headed out for a loop drive through the country. We ended up at Stone Face. I parked at the mouth of the road because of remaining ice.

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Moss on the base of a stump caught my attention. It might be velvet tree apron moss. I didn’t give it much attention after spotting the thorns.

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Three serious-looking vines grew nearby.

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The longest thorns were 5/8 inch long, or longer.

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These vines obviously meant business!

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The teeny “spots” looked fuzzy up close.

I’m stumped by these vines.

I’ve never seen them before. Research online produced only one picture of this vine, and didn’t include its name.

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We couldn’t leave without a short hike along the creek. These sunlit colors immediately caught and held my attention.

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The day actually felt like the beginning of spring!

Two Mosses and a Lichen

I went out this afternoon specifically to photograph a small moss growing in a small fire ring beside my moon garden.

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 The Ditrichum pallidum has no common name in my Walk Softly Upon the Earth book, a field guide to Missouri mosses, liverworts and lichens. The stalks stood an inch tall.

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A loop walk of part of the backyard turned up another tiny moss, called urn moss (Physcomitrium pryiforme) because of the shape of spore capsules. The stalks on this moss was 1/4 inch tall at the most.

Moss glossary:

 Gametophyte — leafy portion of the plant.

Sporophyte — spore producing part of the plant. It usually has long slender stalk, topped with capsule which produces the spores.

Calyptra — a thin jacket covering the top of the capsule. It later looks like a little hat. (Easier seen in the top picture.)

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I noticed a greenish-yellow patch on the bark of the hackberry tree. It was odd that in was only on the southwest side and low on the trunk. Candelaria concolor grows mostly on trees and occasionally on rocks.

Along the Creek Bank

The sun divided its time between shining and hiding behind clouds, as the pictures show.

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I wish I knew what the trees thought about living on the edge of the creek. This is a wet-weather creek, which means it has more of a decline through the hills, and only has water during the wet times.

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Moss wouldn’t have a chance to grow on these low roots.

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like it does on this tree and the one in the next picture.

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This shows how rocky the ground is from ravine’s eroding over the eons.

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Future heavy rains and flash flooding might occasionally move a rock.

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I wondered what caused all the holes. The center looks like a face with a big forehead and a pointed chin.

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Buffy and I turned around here and headed back to the truck.

Velvet Tree Apron Moss

 Buffy and I  rounded the corner of the creek on Eagle Mountain.

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All the drab colors of winter made the green moss on the bases of several trees stand out.

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This was the first one I came to, and it had the most dramatic root system.

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Frost dulled the green in the shaded area of the moss.

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Velvet tree apron moss grows on rocks, the bases of trees and decaying wood.

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It’s appearance changes when it dries. This was higher on the same tree.

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This arrangement just begged to be photographed.

Spring Beauties

The first of the year

 The water in the small creek was much lower than it was a week ago when it had ice in the calm areas. Buffy and I left later this afternoon than usual for a short outing to break up the monotany of the day. The sun was too low for pictures in the creek, so we meandered through the woods instead.

Gentle water trickled behind me, and the 3p.m. sun angled tree shadows through the woods. Moss grew on the ground, on rocks and the base of tree trunks. Chorus frogs gave their “creeeeek” calls from a nearby wet area. A crow cawed as it flew over. Early spring wildflowers were sprouting in profusion, and a few were starting to bloom. This is early for southern Illinois. Our temperatures have run above average for most of the winter. Snow only accumulated once and melted that afternoon.

Tiny white flowers bloomed on spring cress and little yellow ones on corydalis. Feathery leaves of the corydalis were common along with leaves of cut-leaved toothwort, purple dead nettle, Dutchman’s breeches and chickweed … and then I found my first spring beauty flower of the year.

Spring beauties (Claytonia virginica)  are common in moist woods. They have 2 opposite linear leaves that can either be purplish like in the picture or can be green.  The petals have pale pink veins. The petals can also be pale pink with darker pink veins. The plants grow 4-5 inches tall. A tight cluster of buds hangs behind the flower petal on the right in the picture. The plants grow taller as the raceme unfolds and more flowers bloom.
Even if a wildflower is common, the first of the season is always a treat.