Starflower Opening

This is a tiny southwest-facing opening in the woods, with dry prairie plants and a huge old oak. It’s very overgrown with aspen, birch, prickly ash and dogwood.

I’ve been slowly enlarging it by cutting down shrubs and small trees around the edges, and girdling the mature aspens in the woods.

Here’s a view of the opening in May 2007.

Yellow Stargrass

False Dandelion

Robin’s Plantain

Prairie Dropseed

This is the one old oak at the north edge of the opening.

There are several plants here that I haven’t found anywhere else on our land.  They’re marked with a * on the list.

Plant list for the opening:

Big Bluestem – Andropogon gerardii
Side-oats Grama – Bouteloua curtipendula
Robin’s Plantain – Erigeron pulchellus
Stiff Gentian – Gentianella quinquefolia
*Prairie Smoke – Geum triflorum
Yellow Stargrass – Hypoxis hirsuta
*False Dandelion – Krigia biflora
Purple Twayblade – Liparis lilifolia
Little Bluestem – Schizachrium scoparium
Prairie Dropseed – Sporobolus heterolepis

Just around the bend of the hill is a northwest facing woods with some unusual woodland plants.

Ghost Pipe – Monotropa uniflora
*American Starflower Trientalis borealis

Just below the main opening is an area of woods – southwest facing – which has Yellow Stargrass, Robin’s Plantain, and many other prairie plants growing in the ground layer.  I’m slowly removing the brush, and girdling the aspens and birches that shade it.

This was taken in the fall of 2008, looking up toward the opening through the brushy woods.

This is after cutting out most of the brush.

This was taken in the summer of 2009, looking up through the woods toward the opening. It’s getting more open, but there’s still clearing work to be done.