Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Southwest Michigan

April 09 2012  
Fred Russ Forest and Dowagiac Woods
First the Fred Russ Forest, this is a new park for us (my sister Marie and me). We left my house at 7:20am, it was 44 degrees.  It took two hours  to get to Russ Forest from home.

Along the way

Russ Forest Park on Dowagiac Creek

There are huge Tulip Trees here at Russ Forest.  This is part of one that blew down in a storm but there are many more alive and well in the forest.

 Dowagiac Creek has Brown Trout, I don't know much about Brown Trout but I do know how to fish for Bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus).

 Marsh Marigold


Golden Ragwort

Dowagiac Creek

 Skunk Cabbage leaves

Newton Woods (Fred Russ Forest) is a Registered National Landmark.

Below is a flowering shrub we came across and didn't know what it was, so Marie booked it.  She identified it as a Red-berried Elder (Sambucus pubens).

Red-berried Elder

We were a little surprised to find Paw Paw over head since we were in the forest not along the creek.
A lady came riding a horse down the trail and asked us about some blue wildflowers she had seen farther south on the trail.  Later we found what she was talking about, Blue-eyed Mary.

Eastern Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) Figwort Family

We found some of the huge Tulip Trees, Tulip Poplar.

We met some one on the trail they told us there were the leaves of the Puttyroot Orchid near the trail by the big trees, we found the leaves.

Puttyroot Orchid Leaves

Trail Map

At the edge of a field we found Flowering Dogwood blooming.

Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

New green leaves of a Black Cherry covered with red pointed galls?  We have seen this before.

This sign reads, Black Walnut  White Ash Black Cherry  Red Oak  Tulip Poplar    Machine Planted 1945-1946

 Near the parking lot we found English Daisy (Bellis perennis) a cute little garden escape.

So we found ourselves back to the car at 1:45 so ~ 4 1/2 hours in the forest. 
Fred Russ Forest was a great choice for the day.  The forest was wonderful.

Now a bit of a sticky wicket, it is about time to go home, 2 hours to my house and then another 35 mintues for Marie to get to her house.  Husbands waiting at home for dinner but...we are only 8 miles from Dowagiac Woods (Michigan Nature Association) one of our very favorite places to wildflower. 

So we head west to Dowagiac then over to Frost Road, we arrive at 2:14pm.  Luck thing I had the cell phone along (and that we both have very understanding husbands) so we called and let everyone know we were going to be very late, now if we can still walk (which wasn't a problem at all) we can relax and enjoy the woods and wildflowers.

Dowagiac Woods...
This is the old sign, it's gone now.  Below is the new sign.

Hepatica leaves


Wild Ginger

Large-flowered Trillium

 American Bladdernut

Many, many, trillium

Bellwort, I like the way the stems seem to pierce the leaves (Perfoliate).

Two-leaved Miterwort

 Marsh Marigold

 One late hepatica

 Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)
A whole bunch of Dwarf Ginseng, with their balls of white along with Mayapple.

 Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) tree

Through the pines and we are back to the car.  We got home exactly 12 hours after we had left that morning!  What a long and wonderful day!

Some info about Fred Russ Forest that I gleaned online-
Fred Russ Forest address 20379 Marcellus Highway Decatur, MI 49045

580+ acres of Michigan State research forest with 12 acres park land open to the public for hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. 

Russ Forest is also home of the largest tulip poplar tree in Michigan. Standing approximately 180 ft. tall, this tree has a 15 ft. circumference, and is over 300 years old.

Forty acres is designated as "National Nature Area" representing a virtually undisturbed mature oak-hickory forest


Anonymous said...

Oh, my. That was the best day yet! The trees at Fred Russ Forest Park are inspiring. Your photos capture a very special place.
We do have understanding families, don't we? It made our walk at Dowagiac Woods that much better.
I like that you included Michigan Nature Association's old sign for the park. It's still there in my memory.
So many wildflowers and trees and a beautiful day, too. Wow.
Thanks for the post.
M :)

Dave said...

Wow!!! Another beautiful place. michigan sure has some nice places. really liked the blue eyed Mary. I am so grateful for your posts. we have so many places to visit now.

kayak1 said...

I agree 200% with "Anonymous" & "flowerdave"... I have photo-printed the blue-eyed Mary, before retiring, Mary V was 1/3rd of the best squad at OCSD, will snail mail to her...

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Another beautiful spot. You have many flowers that we don't have; Celandine poppy isn't native here but we can grow it in our gardens. Still, I've never seen it. Apparently Blue eyed Mary's eastern edge is Vermont-I've never seen it either. I've also never seen the putty root orchid, even though it's supposed to be native. Excellent post-it'll keep me hunting.