The Spur Trail

Part of the Native Plant Trail


Written and narrated by Ed Miller.

The Spur Trail

The main trail of the Native Plant Collection goes up the hill at this intersection. Twelve years ago this area was inaccessible, but it seemed an ideal spot to plant wet land trees like tupelo and sycamore. Later we found that the rich hillside on the other end of this spur trail was a good place to plant herbs like trillium and Dutchman’s breeches, and ferns too.

On your right is a nice specimen of spice bush, a female plant with bright red fruit. Further on we have planted a dozen or more red chokeberry bushes. Both chokeberriea (Aronia sp) have attractive white flowers in the spring and both have red foliage in the fall. A couple more chokeberries are planted in the Rose Family area, but they are doing better here.

Ahead on the left we have planted a couple dozen winterberry seedlings. I am looking forward to the time when they (the female plants) are covered with their attractive red berries.

A bridge across a tiny stream lies ahead. While the stream is tiny most of the time, it carries the runoff of quite a large area and we found even a 12 inch pipe culvert to be inadequate. A couple years ago, I saw one of these percussion pipe organs and found that a bridge of this sort makes an ideal location. If you choose to play, give the top of the tube a sharp rap with a flipflop. The tubes cover a bit over an octave. The black notes are useful for playing Amazing Grace.

Just beyond the bridge on the right is a Rhododendron arborescens. Planted as a swamp azalea (R. viscosum), we found its true nature when it bloomed.

On the left is a tupelo and further on a butternut, and still further a shagbark hickory. We have a planting of hickories with their walnut relatives along the main trail. This hickory came by itself. The butternut was an insurance tree as there is a disease attacking butternut trees. I thought this species might be able to resist disease in a wetter location. On the left are black elderberries. Help yourself when they are ripe.

Further away from the trail on the left are several sycamores, tamaracks, tupelo and alder. No mowing around these specimens, but go ahead and look.

You can return to the main trail or continue on the path up the hill. You will come out at the Willow Pond. On the hillside, there are a dozen or more fern species and lots of wild flowers. These are not marked or labeled, so identification is up to you.

Ed Miller, curator, Landis Native Plant Trail, February 7, 2013