Meredith York, field trip leader, and Mike Weatherford, ANPS member, showed up at the E-Z Mart in Chidester, Arkansas, on September 19, 2015, for what some might call a lightly-attended event.
We know that on this warm, sunny Saturday morning there were many ANPS members forced to attend football games or sit in boring boats on picturesque lakes. We just know they were wanting to be with us to visit one of the tracts included in the Poison Springs State Forest Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve.
This natural area, managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, includes more than 400 acres of sandhill barrens and adjacent woodlands. Knowing that botanical riches were abundant in this preserve, Meredith and I pressed ahead and observed many interesting plants. We found the barrens white with jointweed (Polygonella americana) and cottonweed (Froelichia floridana) in full bloom. Other plants were also blooming, including scratch daisy (Croptilon divaricatum), elegant gayfeather (Liatris elegans), Louisiana goldenrod (Solidago ludoviciana), purple false foxglove (Agalinis tenuifolia), smooth yellow false foxglove (Aureolaria flava), forked blue curls (Trichostema dichotomum), and many-flowered buckwheat (Eriogonum multiflorum) to name a few. See a more complete plant list below.
After the hike we were thirsty and drank deeply from the poison spring. There were no after-effects from drinking the spring water. However, I have noticed that a third eye has appeared in the center of my forehead. It sees infrared and operates independently of my other eyes, constantly scanning my surroundings. Very cool. I am sure its appearance is just a coincidence.
Meredith, a long-time ANPS member, deserves much credit for faithfully monitoring and photographing native plants in the Poison Spring area for many years. Speaking on behalf of the field trip attendees, I thank him for leading this interesting field trip.
Here is a partial list of the plants we found:
- Smooth Yellow False Foxglove – Aureolaria flava
- Louisiana Goldenrod – Solidago ludoviciana
- Golden Aster – Bradburia pilosa
- Elegant Gayfeather – Liatris elegans
- Southern Blazing Star – Liatris squarrulosa
- Rabbit Tobacco – Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium
- Cottonweed – Froelichia floridana
- Jointweed – Polygonella americana
- Forked Blue Curls – Trichostema dichotomum
- Scratch-Daisy – Croptilon divaricatum
- Partridge Berry – Mitchella repens
- Carolina Elephant’s Foot – Elephantopus carolinianus
- Hairy Elephant’s Foot – Elephantopus tomentosus
- Pale-Spike Lobelia – Lobelia spicata
- Pink Wild Bean – Strophostyles umbellata
- White Four O’clock – Mirabilis albida
- Heartleaf Spurge – Euphorbia cordifolia
- Purple False foxglove – Agalinis tenuifolia
Article and photographs by ANPS member Michael Weatherford