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Plant Species?

New postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:38 pm
by TobiasTicetonyk
Does anyone know what species this is? The needles seem to grow perpendicular to the branches like fir, but the needles look like elongated hemlock needles. It's growth form is a bush/shrub and grows sprawling patches. I have noticed them in Stony Clove up the slopes of Plateau, and in immense quantities on the Twin slope in Pecoy Notch.
I'm embarrassed - after completing my undergraduate thesis on Catskill high elevation boreal biogeography, I come across this and a few other thingz up high and have no idea what's going on. :?

I can't think of any main plant associations I have noticed them with. They do grow at the thickest around Balsam fir, but do quite well in very thin soils under Sugar Maple in stony clove. I'm sure once I know the species I can figure out its main plant associations and ecosystem types...

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This one is pretty blurry, but it still shows the surrounding area well... I think...
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Luckily my study was more about the geology, glaciers, soil, trees, herb, moss, and lichen. Not much discussion about the brush stratum besides hobblebush. Whatever species this is, I have never seen it on a boreal summit.

These look like they spread as clone colonies through roots, like Beech, but I'm not sure. I'm just basing that on the fact that all the sprouts seem to be growing from the ground at the same angle and direction in small areas. If propagated by seed however, they obviously germinate and establish well in thick leaf litter, unlike the commonly associated boreal ground stratum herbaceous species that can't germinate or grow under leaves and rely on the moss for nutrient support and water retention. I'l stop blabbering.

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:40 pm
by TobiasTicetonyk
Oh, and could a moderator move this so the plant, wildlife, and other stuff section?

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:42 pm
by mike
Without seeing them up close it is hard to make a definitive confirmation. It is possible that they might be a Yew. They look very similar to Hemlocks. Very hard to tell them apart. There are also many sub-species of Yews too. It is possible someone planted them many years ago, and they are still spreading. Yews are more described as shrubs, and they will grow like that.

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:07 pm
by TobiasTicetonyk
mike wrote:Without seeing them up close it is hard to make a definitive confirmation. It is possible that they might be a Yew. They look very similar to Hemlocks. Very hard to tell them apart. There are also many sub-species of Yews too. It is possible someone planted them many years ago, and they are still spreading. Yews are more described as shrubs, and they will grow like that.


You're right, I'm pretty confident it's yew, but it seems more sprawled and not as dense as the cultivated variety. I find this tends to happen with ornamental needle leaved plants, we had the same thing happen to one of those conical white spruce trees, we never trimmed it and today its a full fledged white spruce with branches and all. Plants like to stretch out when they get the chance...

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:13 pm
by bousquet19
Sounds like an interesting thesis, Tobias!

To me, the two-ranked needles match hemlock most closely, but the sprawling, radiating growth habit looks more like a native yew. Oh well. Any chance you remember what the needles' undersides look like? As I'll bet you know, hemlock needles have two white stripes beneath, while yew needles are yellow-green beneath.

Woody

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:00 pm
by kennykb
I'm not convinced that all your pictures are the same stuff.

Your first picture looks as if it could be Lycopodium clavatum, also known as common clubmoss or staghorn clubmoss, which is pretty common in the understory of the Catskills. The lycopods, or clubmosses, have a phylum unto themselves: they're not ferns, not mosses, not conifers. Sometimes L. clavatum has the vulgar name of "ground pine". A lot of people think it's the seedling of some sort of conifer, but it isn't.

Re: Plant Species?

New postPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:14 pm
by TobiasTicetonyk
The first picture isn't clubmoss, its the same plant as the others, just much shorter and out of focus. It's a variety of yew, I'm just not sure which.