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Month: October 2017

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a small deciduous tree, that produces alternate leaves in three different shapes: a mitten shaped leaf with one large lobe and one smaller “thumb” lobe, a simple oval shaped leaf, and a three lobed leaf. All three leaf types can occur on the same branch. During the growing season, sassafras leaves are bright green above and glaucous below. The species name “albidum” is derived from the Latin word “albus”, which means white, referring to this lighter…

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Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a tall deciduous shrub, with multiple arched, spreading main trunks, forming an irregular open crown. The leaves of witch hazel can be identified by their asymmetrical base, and their coarse, rounded teeth. It is native to woodlands, forest margins and stream banks in eastern North America; more often than not, the witch hazel shrubs I find are indeed along stream banks. Although rarely found east of Barnstable, witch hazel is fairly common in the rocky…

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Common Glasswort (Salicornia maritima)

Common Glasswort (Salicornia maritima)

While tall grasses, like Spartina alterniflora, dominate the more frequently flooded lower elevations of a salt marsh, the high marsh areas, which are inundated less frequently, are home to an entirely different and interesting set of plants.  Glassworts, in particular, are exceptionally colorful this time of year. Many people focus on the changing colors of the leaves of various deciduous trees as autumn arrives, but glassworts put on their own colorful fall display. Although almost completely green throughout the spring…

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