Trees Along the Crest of the Niagara River Gorge from

Devil's Hole to DeVeaux (Whirlpool) Steps in New York State:
Photo Gallery - Views

P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica, a Missouri Botanical Garden Web Site

http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/ResBot/index.htm
November 7, 2004

 

Trees Along the Crest of the Niagara River Gorge from

Devil's Hole to DeVeaux (Whirlpool) Steps in New York State:
Photo Gallery - Views

by P. M. Eckel

 

Shade typical of the crest woodlands is dappled, as seen here. The westerly winds here are nearly constant and the spangled light moves and shifts on dry soil, producing a distinctive flora.

 

 

This is the elegant fencing that divides the hiker from the dangerous crest of the gorge, to the left in this view. The gentle shapes of the surface of the dirt path have been worn by thousands of visitors throughout the century. The crest vegetation is all that is left of a crest ecology that included native mosses and liverworts, herbs, shrubs and trees.

 

 

View to the north (downstream) onto the rapids of the Niagara River. The gorge is approximately 200 feet high and most covered with a rocky talus upon which a forest has developed. The white areas that appear to be beaches at the water's edge are exposed rock layers on which vegetation is difficult to establish itself due to the ice buildup in winter that scours these rocks and have for centuries. Although the amount of ice development is regulated, it still develops sufficient mass to inhibit the establishment of trees and shrubs at the water's edge.

 

 

View through the crest vegetation to the south (upstream). The whirlpool basin is seen in the distance.

 

 

The fence is supported in places by stone piers.

 

 

 

 

 

The path along the crest winds in and out with variations in the erosional history of the topmost strata of rock, here dolostone, a calcareous stone. The point in the distance on the left is a viewing area.

 

 

Lack of canopy together with a policy of no-mow can create  masses of weedy growth, here a species of prickly Thistle, probably the Canada Thistle, Cirsium arvense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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