|Hillside of campground blueberries overlooking Frenchman's Bay|
Throughout the hillside is an distinctive assortment of plants making a living, several of which I wasn't too familiar with, so I thought I'd record what plants were growing there. We just love being up on that hill - the view, the plants, the singing birds. So, for somewhat sentimental reasons, I give you some of the plants.
|Lowbush blueberry - the best crop I've ever seen.|
|Blueberry Barrens at Bar Harbor Campground, Hulls Cove, Maine|
Many of these plants are very typical of Northern New England. Which I sentimentally equate with being on vacation. These are all, therefore, lovely plants :)
|Meadowsweet (Spirea alba)|
Meadowsweet is a favorite of Northern New England, and is related to a number of other Spirea species that are used in landscaping. This one is native, however, unlike some gardening favorites (such as Japanese Spirea).
|Bunchberry Dogwood or Dwarf Dogwood (Cornus Canadensis)|
One of the most eye-catching plants are the tiny dogwoods with clumps of bright red berries. My son ate some those berries once as a toddler. I'm happy to report he didn't get sick. This one has a lot of common names, mostly having to do with being a dogwood or being found in Canada. It's odd that this tiny plant is in fact a dogwood and therefore closely related to shrubs and small trees. The Latin genus name for dogwoods is Cornus, which is translated as "hard (as in wood)." So the species name Cornus Canadensis translates to what....Hard Canadian?
|Reindeer moss (a lichen) and wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)|
May I digress about the rock? It's always there, just under foot, and it clearly plays a major part in how things grow here. I've never known quite what it was, but it's very different from the rest of the island, nothing like the famous pink granite of Cadillac Mountain, and it reminds me of the rock underlying the Flint Hills of Kansas. (Flint, that is. This rock at the campground can break into shards with sharp edges like flint). The geology map says it's the Bar Harbor Formation, which is composed of sandstones and siltstones that often show obvious bedding layers. If you say so, but I'm not seeing it. Looking into the matter further for this blog post, however, I now see the bedrock maps says this is "Ireson Hill", and by Googling that I find this page that says, "The rocks found along the shore at The Ovens and in the road-cuts along Route 3 at Ireson Hill on the northern side of the island also belong to the Bar Harbor Formation, but here the rock is flint-like and bedding is difficult or impossible to see. Some of these rocks are believed to be accumulations of ash that settled out of the atmosphere after a volcanic eruption." Thank you. Now I don't feel so stupid. Not only that, but volcanic ash... that's interesting. Now it all makes sense.
|Definitely not the pink granite of Cadillac Mountain!|
|Volcanic ash deposits of the Bar Harbor Formation. Note the blueberries.|
Back to the plants. Goldenrod is well known. But what about Silverrod? This is the only white goldenrod species, and I didn't even recognize it as a goldenrod. There are 26 species Goldenrod in New England, so I don't usually bother trying to get down to the species level.
|Goldenrod, maybe the Common Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis.)|
|Silverrod (Solidago bicolor)|
Some of the blueberries were black and shiny. I'm not sure if these are a different species, or it's just natural variation within the species. Late Lowbush Blueberry can have black berries, so I'm guessing it's just natural variation. Not to be confused with Huckleberries, which are also black and shiny, but huckleberry plants are taller (two or three times as tall) and there are a few crunchy seeds in the center. Also, huckleberries don't have clumps of berries at the end of a stem.
|Blueberries can be black.|
|Huckleberry surrounded by blueberries|
|Common Juniper, with oak, gray birch, and mountain maple saplings in the back|
|Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)|
Sheep laurel is one that I never see in Connecticut, but I always see in Acadia. This time of year, the dead flower heads midway up the branch, interrupting the leaves, are pretty distinctive. The species Latin name is the same as for the blueberries: angustifolia, which translates as narrow leaves. So we have the laurel and blueberry with narrow leaves growing together here. I used to misread angustifolia as augustifolia (with a "u") and think, oh, it's because they get berries in August. Good thing I'm not a botanist.
|Northern Witherod or Wild Raisin (Viburnum cassinoides)?|
|Witherod or Wild Raisin|
|Witherod berries, or "raisins"|
|Dogbane behind a fire pit|
I used to think I could smell blueberries growing, but it turned out I was smelling Sweet Fern, which often grows where blueberries grow. And sure enough, there it was. It's not a fern, but an aromatic shrub of dry, waste places.
|Sweet Fern, a shrub|
Finally, there was bracken fern, the fern that grows where other ferns dare not, like dry, sandy woods. It's the fern with one main stem that goes up for about a foot and then suddenly breaks into three fern fronds.