Some Notes on Plant Species Found at
the Arnot Teaching and Research
Forest Pond above the Lodge

Master Naturalist Program, Cornell University,
New York State, Volunteer Contributions
P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden
May 12, 2013

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Some Notes on Plant Species Found at the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest Pond above the Lodge:

Master Naturalist Program, Cornell University,
New York State, Volunteer Contributions

P. M. Eckel

May 12, 2013



Volunteer hours include the time driving from the City of  Buffalo to and from  the Arnot Forest above Horseheads, New York, and for the collecting of specimens [7 hours]. Specimens are housed at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Time spent pressing and drying specimens [3 hours], identifying them [8 hours], label preparation [2 hours], mounting specimens on specimen paper [2 hours] and filing into a small herbarium unit [1 hour]; article preparation [4 hours]. Total: approximately 27 hours volunteer time.


I am grateful for Kristi Sullivan for introducing myself and my other classmates to the richness of the forests of the central New York uplands.



As part of my volunteer work to qualify for the Certificate of Master Naturalist, organizer Kristi Sullivan (Cornell University, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Department of Natural Resources), I have prepared a short, introductory list of some plant species associated with the open meadow and pond above the teaching lodge at the Arnot Forest. This article is for the attention of other participants in the New York Master Naturalist Program, during their two weekend visits, as required by the program. This list is by no means complete, representing only two brief exposures during the growing season, one in June, the other in October, and some new species will appear during the growing season, and others disappear. It was thought such an introductory list might be of some use and value to the participants.


During these two visits, specimens of various plants, shrubs, trees and bryophytes were collected to be taken to a herbarium for later identification. The following list is based on those specimens and these can be re-checked if questions as to identity arise. Future small articles relating to these plants may be written and posted together with the following list


The label on the specimens reads:



USA, NY State.  Schuyler Co., Cayuta  twp.

Arnot Teaching and Research Forest of Cornell University.

Habitat encircling small man-made pond upslope of main

teaching lodge.


Coll. P. M. Eckel  June 2, 2012 [or]  Coll. P. M. Eckel October 8, 2012


Dusk, June 6, 2012; also late afternoon October 8, 2012

[Species in square brackets are conjectural, requiring specimens for future examination].



Habitat: freshwater empondment above the Lodge, surrounded by an artificial meadow with mown grass amidst old forest growth. The area is open, with no canopy. There is a seepy periphery of the pond in low surrounding area, a valley near base of upland forested ridges, a region full of springs and rivers south of the Finger Lakes and west of the Catskill Mountains. Shrubby riparian habitat occurs around the pond with some young trees, a herbaceous and graminoid flora with bryophytes at periphery of wet lawn and pond edge vegetation.


The habitat is surrounded by a dense forest of native trees. Where the disturbed meadow and the forest edge meet, one may find species found under the forest canopy, such as Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis). This is also a place where weedy shrub species establish themselves, such as Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora, an invasive shrub, which is frequent at forest edge in full and fragrant flower), also Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) . This is also the classic habitat for thorny raspberries, such as the Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis).


Note that at one end of the pond there is a small feeder stream with a wooden bridge-like construction across it. Here there is a special little flora of grasses and other plants.


Meadow is a word associated with other English words relating to mowing: a low, flat area covered with grass, suitable for cutting hay or for pasture, a grassland; note that grasslands can form on mountains, mountain meadow.


The encircling meadow is restricted to graminoids and low, creeping herbs. Establishment of trees and shrubs is restricted by mowing. Grasses in the meadow are seeded and include Red Fescue (*Festuca rubra) and Sweet Vernal Grass (*Anthoxanthum odoratum), both alien species. Abundant amid the grasses  is the white Creeping White Clover (*Trifolium repens) and the yellow-flowered Old-field Potentilla (Potentilla canadensis - a native species, and also a creeping one). [The red-flowered *Trifolium pratense (Red Clover) is probably also present as Trifolium species are often included in grass seed mixes]. The Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) was noted growing into the mown grassy margin out from the adjoining forest growth.


Typical of wet soil are the Bebb’s Willow (Salix bebbiana), a shrubby species. A small willow which is actually a young tree that when mature will tower above the water’s edge is the Black Willow (Salix nigra).


Shrubby and young tree species in the wet pond edge include sprouts of Red Maple and  several young trees of Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides Mich.).


Narrow-leaved Cattail (Typha angustifolia L.) emerges out of the near-shore water. It appears to be able to colonize an open water habitat before the Broad-leaved Cattail (Typha latifolia).


Herbs and grass-like species growing at and into the shallows included the Sweet Vernal Grass (*Anthoxanthum odoratum) from the meadow, the sedges Carex gracillima, Carex lurida, Carex scoparia and a species of rush, Juncus effusus.


Some conspicuous ground-growing bryophytes include the the following mosses, Polytrichum commune in full fruit right at the pond edge, Thuidium delicatulum, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus  and Climacium americanum. Closer to the pond margin occurs three species of the acrocarpous moss genus Aulacomium:  Aulacomnium acuminatum, which grows as erect acrocarp amid the lacy, frilly fronds of Thuidium delicatulum. The other two species of Aulacomnium are: Aulacomnium androgenum and Aulacomnium palustre  In my experience, it is unusual to find as many as three different species of mosses of the same genus growing together in a tangle as here on the pond margin, although this seems to be very typical of moss populations found in Europe.


Preliminary Species List from two brief visits to the pond.

    NOTE: The technical, or Latin names (italicized) represent nomenclature from the 1980’s following popular texts such as Peterson’s and Newcombs’ wildflower guides. Most of the numerous species once belonging to the genus Aster, for example, are now in the genera Eurybea,  Oclemena, or especially Symphiotrichum; Goldenrods, once in the genus Solidago, may be found now in geners such as Euthamia or Oligoneuron.


Trees and Shrubs

 [names with an asterisk are alien species]

  Acer rubrum L., mature trees at edge of woods; young trees regenerating at pond margin.

  *Berberis thunbergii DC., Japanese Barberry, weedy wood’s edge.

  Betula populifolia Marsh., Gray Birch, tall tree in open, moist meadow at base of dike surrounding the pond; leaves doubly serrate, deltate

  Carpinus caroliniana Walter, American Hornbeam, component of native woods surrounding the pond and meadow

  Carya ovata (Miller) K. Koch, Shag-bark Hickory, component of native woods surrounding the pond and meadow.

  [Pinus:trees that are Pines (conifers) are not included, although there is a nice stand on one side of the pond. It is unclear whether these are native Pines or planted such as Scots Pine[?] *Pinus sylvestris L. It is unknown what trees are planted in, for example, the meadow areas, and which ones derive from the surrounding forest].

  Populus tremuloides Mich. (June, Oct.); tall trees in meadow, many younger ones near wet pond margin.

  *Rosa multiflora Thunb. ex Murr.

  Rubus allegheniensis Porter, Common Blackberry; leaves stipitate glandular, weedy edge of woods.

  Salix bebbiana Sarg., underside of October leaves silvery closely and evenly pubescent [note that recent and ongoing research indicates that this widespread species is mostly an aggressive European species (Salix atrocinerea or S. caprea).

  *Salix caprea L., Goat or Florist’s Willow, leaves densely, shaggy tomentose beneath, without twigs with ridges.

  Salix discolor Muhl., Pussy WIllow, leaves broad and glabrous.

  Salix nigra Marsh (Black Willow); note teeth closely and evenly serrate (less than 3 mm apart), round at the base (not acute as in S. interior (exigua), stipulate; leaves curved; vein islets tiny below; continuous marginal vein); set pond margin.


Ferns (vascular cryptogams)

  Onoclea sensibilis L., Sensitive Fern, mown area adjacent to dense woods


Herbs (that is, ‘forbs:’ a name used for broadleaf herbs that are not grasses or grass-like plants)

  Achillea millefolium L., Yarrow, in middle of mown grass.

  Agrimonia gyrosepala Wallr.; Tall Hairy Agrimony, open, weedy edge of dense woods, October

  Aster prenanthoides Muhl., Crooked-stemmed Aster, flowers blue; in middle of mown grass, October

  *Centaurea maculosa Lam., Spotted Knapweed (Eurasian), in middle of mown grass.

  * Hieracium aurantiacum L., Devil’s Paint-brush, a meadow species, one of the few plants with bright orange flowers [sight record only].

  *Hieracium pratense Tausch., King-devil, frequent in mown meadows

  Ludwigia palustris (L.) Ell., Water Purslane, in mud amidst the bases of herbs just above water at pond edge.

  Monarda fistulosa L., Wild Bergamot; wet shore of pond, by inflowing stream.

  Podophyllum peltatum L., May-apple, interior of dense woods

  Polygala sanguinea L., Purple Milkwort, in middle of mown grass, October.

  Potentilla canadensis L., Dwarf Cinquefoil, frequent throughout grassy meadow

  *Prunella vulgaris L., Heal-all, in middle of mown grass

  Solidago altissima L., Tall Goldenrod,  involucres mostly 5 mm, weedy wood’s edge

  Solidago gigantea Aiton; Late Goldenrod, open, weedy wood’s edge

  Solidago rugosa Miller, Rugose Goldenrod, wet shore of pond, October

  Sparganium (sp.), Bur-reed,  [material insufficient to identify]

  Typha angustifolia, Narrow-leaved Cattail

  [*Trifolium pratense, Red Clover, expected, but not yet seen]

  *Trifolium repens (meadow), Creeping White Clover


Graminoids (non forb, grasses and grass-like plants)


     *Anthoxanthum odoratum L. (meadow)

     *Festuca rubra L. (meadow)

     *Phleum pratense L., Timothy, pond margin, the fruiting heads of this distinctive grass look like cigarette butts at the ends of slender stalks (culms).


       Eleocharis obtusa (Willd.) Schult.; wet shore of pond.

       Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth., Wool-grass; in feeder stream into pond


     Juncus effusus L.


     Carex gracillima Schwein., gone by October

     Carex lurida Wahl.

     Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd.


Bryophytes (non-vascular cryptogams; ferns are vascular cryptogams), divided into acrocarps and pleurocarps


1. Acrocarps (fruits, i.e. sporophytes, terminal on stem)

  Aulacomnium acuminatum (Lindb.& H. Arn.) Par. grows as erect acrocarp amid the lacy, frilly fronds of Thuidium delicatulum; both are a dull green as the leaf cells of both have papillae on their surfaces.

  Aulacomnium androgenum (Hedw.) Schwaegr.

  Aulacomnium palustre (Hedw.) Schwaegr.


  Most unusually, tangled mats are formed in places among the wet grasses by the edge of the pond where three species in the same genus were found growing interwoven: Aulacomnium acuminatum (Lindb. & H. Arn) Par.; Aulacomnium androgenum (Hedw.) Schwaegr.;  Aulacomnium palustre (Hedw.) Schwaegr.


  Dicranum scoparium Hedw., plants with clusters of long, rigid setaceous or threadlike leaves, of a beautiful emerald-green color. Scoparium refers to a broom and the thin leaves are swept to the side like a broom that has been left standing. It is often found on soil in forested areas. It is commonly encountered.

  Leucobryum albidum (Brid.) Lindb.; a moss distinctive to the naked eye due to its whitish-gray or blue-green (glaucous) cushions - a nice contrast to the dark, vivid green of most mosses usually growing more in mats than cushions on the forest floor and on soil that was once part of the forest. It is associated with rotted logs and stumps but also grows on soil, humus and sometimes rock in and adjacent to forests.


  Polytrichum commune Hedw., a species of one of the largest acrocarpous mosses in eastern North America. A specimen observed in the wet soil at the edge of the pond was 6-8 inches tall. The species is representative of a family of large mosses (Polytrichaceae). This is the “common Hair Cap Moss,” otherwise known by some as the “Great Goldilocks” describing the capsules in which the spores are developed, lifted high above the plant on a long stem (the ‘seta’). This capsule has a hairy (poly-trichaceous) covering (the calyptra) as do most of the species in the family. There are three genera in our region, Atrichum (plants crisped when dry) and Pogonatum (plants rigid and coarse when dry), both with cylindric capsules inside the hairy calyptra. Polytrichum is also rigid and coarse when dry and has capsules that are angled, as in a cube.


2. Pleurocarps (fruits, i.e. sporophytes, growing laterally on the stem)


Climacium americanum Bridel, a very distinctive moss in that it is dendroid: it arises from the ground on a rhizomelike structure and resembles a trunk and is brown, from the apex of which radiate the green branches like a tree.

Platygyrium repens (Bird.) BSG., a small plant that is very common, especially in forest clearings, on the bases of trees and their stumps, noted for their glossy dark green color in large, closely-woven mats. There is absolutely no costa (that is, a midrib running throughout the leaf) at all, which helps to differentiate this species from others like it, as well as the brood branchlets that are like buds growing clustered together in the axils of the leaf.

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus (Hedw.) Warnst. a relatively large moss, especially compared to the tiny leaves of the lacy branches of Thuidium, with which it grows, with large, triangular leaves giving the stem a shaggy appearance. Its rather thick, dark brown stem contrasts with the bright green leaves. In the northeastern United States this is a common species usual to woodland clearings as at the pond, it favors upland, montane station and tends to be populous in northern areas in the boreal forest of Canada. The leaves have two long costae.

Thuidium delicatulum (Hedw.) BSG., one of the most distinctive mosses growing in the wet grasses around the pond due to its lacy growth form, like a fine doily. It has a dull luster due to the papillae on each cell of the plant diffracting the light. Glossy mosses have smooth surfaces. The leaves have one stout costa.