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Title: Fort Slocum Park, Washington, D.C., 6 March 2005

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

On 6 March 2005, the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Maryland Native Plants Society visited Fort Totten Park, and part of the group visited Fort Slocum Park, both sites of Civil War forts in Washington, D.C. It was a cool, windy March day about 50 degrees F, bright overcast or sunny depending on the time. Most of the recent snow in the park had melted. Shallow ditches which might be original ditches from the Fort were apparent.

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

This is another precious, little Park that 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 sparse in many places, and one can walk easily among the large trees.

We saw many interesting native and alien plants. The site contains much terrace gravel, deposited by steams that ran from the northern glaciers of about 12,000 years ago. Tree species include the following.

Ilex opaca (American Holly, Aquifoliaceae)
Querus alba (White Oak, Fagaceae)
Quercus rubra (Northern Red Oak, Fagaceae)
Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae)
Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust, Fabaceae)

A main alien plant in the Park is Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle, Caprifoliaceae), and it formed several large patches.

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, 12 March 2005)

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Figures 1–3. Views of the forest.

Figures 4. Andrew surveys vegetation.

Figure 5. Puffball mushrooms.

Figure 6. Puffball mushrooms.

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