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Fort Totten 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. Many of Fort Totten’s earthern ditches and ridges remain, unlike those of many other Civil War Forts. 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 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 thin in many places, and one can walk easily among the large trees.
We saw many interesting native and alien plants and a new sink hole that caused two large trees to topple over. 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.
Amelanchiersp. (serviceberry, Rosaceae)
Ilex opaca (American Holly, Aquifoliaceae)
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum, Hamamelidceae)
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree, Magnoliaceae)
Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine, Pinaceae)
Pinus virginiana (Virginia Pine, Pinaceae)
Prunus serotina (Wild Black Cherry, Rosaceae)
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)
We saw several arthropods, including a moth cocoon and a flying geometrid moth. Fresh scat of a Cottontail Rabbit lay on the ground.
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 1–2. Fort Totten sign.
Figures 3–4. Our leader, Mary Pat, tells us where we are.
Figure 5. Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum, Hamamelidaceae).
Figure 6. Prunus serotina (Wild Black Cherry, Rosaceae) and other trees.
Figures 7–9. Shells of seeds of Prunus serotina (Wild Black Cherry, Rosaceae) left possibly by Sciurus carolinensis (Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciuridae).
Figure 10. A view of the forest.
Figures 11–13. Views of the forest.
Figures 14–15. A moth cocoon on Amelanchier sp. (serviceberry, Rosaceae).
Figures 16–20. A tree of Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae) with a wet wound.
Figure 21. Invasive, alien bamboo (Poaceae).
Figure 22. Richard examines a slow-growing tree of Fagus grandifolia (American Beech, Fagaceae).
Figure 23. Gaylussacia sp. (Huckleberry, Ericaceae) growing at the base of a tree.
Figure 24. A view of the forest.
Figure 25. Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine, Pinaceae).
Figures 26–30. Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine, Pinaceae).
Figures 31–32. Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine, Pinaceae)
Figure 33. Phellinus rimosis (Cracked-cap Polypore, Polyporaceae) growing on Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust, Fabaceae).
Figures 34. A leaf mine (Diptera: Agromyzidae) on
Figure 35. A wet wound on Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae).
Figures 36–37. A wet wound on Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae).
Figure 38. Fresh scat from Sylvilagus floridanus (Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Leporidae).
Figures 39–40. Two large trees of Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak, old name: Quercus prinus, Fagaceae) fell after a pothole formed in the forest.
Figure 41. “Yes, Andrew, there is an alternative biology,” Lou.
Figures 42–44. Hypericum hypericoides (St. Andrew’s-cross, Hypericaceae), reddish leaves.
Figure 45. One of many plastic shopping bags that caught on vegetation during this windy day.
Figures 46–49. Remnants of snow.
Figure 50. Some of the local gravel.
Figures 51–53. Some of the local gravel with moss.
Figure 54. Danthonia spicata (Poverty Grass, Poaceae).
Figure 55. An old cicada larval skin and other ground litter.
Figure 56. A moss and ground litter.