The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Plot Study

In my Field Interpretation class, we have to do a plot study for an hour a week.

The plot needs to be in an ecotone.

My plot is between Amity Creek and the singletrack bike trail, just past the first red pine grove heading uphill.


The video from the previous post was from this spot:

img_2536I like how the overhanging tree is basically frozen into the river.

Our first job is to catalog all the flora. Some was easy (paper birch, black spruce, buckthorn), but some was not.

Here was my first problem:

img_2520Both of these pines have needles in bunches of two. Classic red pine, right? Except the tree on the left has much shorter needles. Out comes the tree ID book. I want to say that it’s a scotch pine, except for the part where it says scotch pines thrive in dry soil. Uh, this is right next to the river. But it does have needles that twist, so I’m feeling relatively confident.

Next problem was a bit easier to solve:

img_2526This is a black willow. My tree ID book shows the bud of a black willow as nothing like this, but there’s a nice tree ID website from the Michigan Extension Office in the UP, and they showed this exact type of bud. Nice.

I’m pretty sure this last challenge tree has to be a maple, but the reddish tinge is confusing me:

img_2533Maybe it’s a particular type of maple –  amur or tatarian or something. Probably not – too big. Just not sure what else it would be.

So the time flew by, and I’m looking forward to seeing what changes there next week. Maybe by then I’ll be able to start identifying the grasses that are growing there…



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