Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fred Russ Forest and Dowagiac Woods in April 2014

April 17, 2014 

An adventure to Fred Russ Forest in Cass County was the start for our day.  Here is some info on this park, "Nestled along the Volinia Creek, Fred Russ Forest and Newton's Woods County Park, is a nature lovers paradise with its old growth forests, acres of wildflowers and abundant plant life. Located on Marcellus Highway, one-half mile east of Decatur Road near Volinia, Russ Forest offers two picnic shelters with electricity, potable water, equestrian and hiking trails, fishing (designated trout stream), horseshoe pits, and much more. In cooperation with Michigan State Univeristy, Russ Forest is also considered a national landmark with 737 acres of virgin black walnut and white oak. It is also home to one of the largest standing Tulip Popular trees east of the Mississippi River. Beautiful landscapes and peaceful natural settings are the rule rather than the exception at this very popular county park."

We saw a few more wildflowers blooming this week.
          Trout Lily

              Dutchman's Breeches 

                 Marsh Marigold


               Thyme-leaf Speedwell

            Spring Beauty

This was an interesting plant that we found, Golden Saxifrage!
 I should have put the quarter in this shot - the flower on the Golden Saxifrage is only 1/4 inch in size, petals absent, anthers orange to red-orange.

         Face Tree

                  Tulip Tree

We walked about 2 1/2 hours in the park.  It was a perfect day to be in the forest.  Then we drove eight miles west to Dowagiac Woods!  We were here 6 days ago and we could see the difference in the plant growth.  The plants hadn't gone crazy, they might have with a bit of rain. 
We saw Marsh Marigold, Spring Beauty, Hepatica, Trout Lily, False Rue Anemone and
Bloodroot, all blooming.   We saw more Large-flowered Trillium, and Dwarf Ginseng but both were just in bud.
We did see many beautiful Sharp-Lobed Hepatica blooming, they are my favorite.

A maple tree had fallen down, some branches had flowers on them yet.
And we saw this Eastern Box Turtle.
 So that was our day, a very nice day.

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