If you like Mayapples, this is the place. Â A series of bicycle paths that lead from Belmont Plateau to the Recycling Center reveal a stunning display of Mayapple colonies. If you look closely, there are also some Trout lilies and Cut Leaved Toothwort as well as an abundance of Spring Beauty. Some of the ravines on this walk have big oaks and Beeches, and still retain that feel of an old forest. Â The native wildflowers add to the overall effect of a natural area, where one can imagine what it was like to be there hundreds Â of years ago. In contrast, the plateau areas are full of disturbance and invasives. Â We find this a typical pattern in the northeastern piedmont region.
An enchanting evening walk nonetheless, with countless Mayapples gracing the forest floor.
Keeba, making sure that noone accidentally steps on a Mayapple or any other wildflower growing right next to the path.
Except for the Schuylkill expressway roaring away in the backround, this pleasant sylvan scene is evocative of an ancient springtime, a place where the natural world we have inherited has evolved, millenia after millenia. Â Before us is something of a time capsule, a window into the past, living ancients renewing themselves year after year until this very spring before our eyes.
Within the ecosystem of the Mayapple is the Eastern Box turtle, which also emerges from the forest floor, and finds as part of its diet the Mayapple itself, the fruit of the plant Podophyllum peltatum. Â This fruit provides sustenance for the turtle and in return, the seeds are roughed up in the turtles digestive tract , which will help them germinate after the turtle disperses them.
So if you are on the Schuylkill, stuck in a horrible traffic jam, remember you are right next to a beautiful forest where there are all kinds of species interacting, and great old trees and some flowers. Â But like the Schuylkill, it is not without its problems.