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Title: Fort Davis Park, Washington, D.C., 13 February 2005

Fort Davis Park, Washington, D.C., U.S.A

On 13 February 2005, the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Maryland Native Plants Society visited Fort Davis Park, and part of the group visited some of the earthen works of Fort Stanton, in Washington, D.C.   It was a warm, still February day about 50 degrees F, bright overcast and sunny depending on the time.   Mr. Lou Aronica and Mrs. Mary Pat Rowan energetically led us.

This is a National Park.   Legally speaking, you should not remove anything from this Park.

This precious, little Park, partly shows us what natural Washington, D.C., looked like during Native American and colonial times before people felled the local forest.   The understory is thin in many places, and one can walk easily among the large trees.

We saw many interesting native and alien plants, springs, and an eroded stream.   The site contains much terrace gravel, deposited by steams that ran from the northern glaciers of about 12,000 years ago.   Tree species include Acer saccharinum (Silver Maple, Aceraceae), Acer negundo (Ash-leaved Maple, Aceraceae), Acer rubrum (Red Maple, Aceraceae), Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-heaven, Simaroubaceae, alien species), Aralia spinosa (Hercules’ Club, Devil’s Walking Stick, Araliaceae), Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory, Juglandaceae), Hamamelis virginiana (Common Witch-Hazel, Hamamelidaceae), Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Ericaceae), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum, Hamamelidaceae), Liriodendron tulipifera (Tuliptree, Magnoliaceae), Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnoliaceae), Pinus virginiana (Virginia Pine, Pinaceae), Querus alba (White Oak, Fagaceae), Quercus rubra (Northern Red Oak, Fagaceae), Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae), and Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust, Fabaceae).

We saw several arthropods, including Hypercompe scribonia (Great Leopard Moth, Arctiidae), a geometrid moth, and two active spiders, including a jumping spider (Salticidae).

Further, we saw leaves of several species of wildflowers and way too much alien, invasive Hedera helix (English Ivy, Araliaceae) which crowds out native species.   In one area of the Park, this alien vine made a choking carpet on the ground and covered large portions of some trees.   This vine produced ample fruit, that birds disperse far and wide, enabling the vine to grew in new places from the seeds that they drop. Weeds Gone Wild gives helpful information about English Ivy.

To see other BDWA pages on forts of the Washington, D.C., Area, please go to BDWA’s homepage and enter the term "fortdc."

(E. M. Barrows, 13 February 2005)

Please, click on images to enlarge them.

Figures 1–3.   Views of the forest, eroded stream, and patches of evergreen Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel, Ericaceae).

Figure 4.   A view of the ground.

Figure 5.   Morus alba (White Mulberry, Moraceae, alien, invasive tree).

Figure 6.   Mrs. Rowan contemplates Rhus radicans (Poison Ivy, Anacardiaceae) on an oak tree (Fagaceae).

Figure 7.   Aralia spinosa (Hercules’ Club, Devil’s Walking Stick, Araliaceae).

Figure 8.   Tracks of a Procyon lotor (Raccoon, Procyonidae).

Figure 9.   Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnoliaceae).

Figure 10.   Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum, Hamamelidceae).

Figures 11–12.   A toothed fungus.

Figures 13–14.   Too much Hedera helix (English Ivy, Araliaceae; aggressive, alien invasive plant).

Figure 15.   Mr. Aronica tells it like it is.

Figures 16–17.   Flower buds of Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinkster Flower, Ericaceae).

Figures 18–19.   A cold larva of Hypercompe scribonia (Great Leopard Moth, Arctiidae).

Figure 20.   A geometrid moth.

Figure 21.   Eggs, probably from a moth, on Amelanchier sp. (serviceberry, Rosaceae).

Figure 22.   A shelf fungus.

Figures 23–25.   A water-filled tree hole, an important habitat for pollinating flower flies of some species and other organisms.

Figures 26–27.   Fruit of Hedera helix (English Ivy, Araliaceae; aggressive, alien invasive plant).

Figure 28.   A felled tree of Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust, Fabaceae).

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