Today, the adventure was to find Lobelia cardinalis, the Red Lobelia or Cardinal Flower, just growing in its natural habitat, perhaps along the banks of the Schuylkill River, where it has yet to be found. We set out to Valley Forge Historical Park, a little bit upstream from Philadelphia, where there is a great 3 mile long river path on the north side of the river just off of Trooper Road. Â There is a boat launch, plenty of parking, bathrooms, signs and trails. Â No Lobelia was spotted. There were lots of invasives, such as Purple Loosestrife, Japanese stiltgrass, Wineberry and Oriental Bittersweet. Â The trail offered great views of the Schuylkill, with lots of Birds, including the Great Blue Heron.
The Silver Maples just growing alongside the river was the real show. What a magnificent assortment of specimens growing in their native and natural habitat.
During the Revolutionary War, this exact spot was a hustle and bustle of barrels and provisions.
Now it is a place where trees grow and die, often falling into the river. A place where Bluebells bloom in the spring and people walk and jog.
The Silver Maple is a fast growing tree, reaching 25 feet in 10 years. Â It has an aggressive root system, a much needed trait alongside a river that fluctuates in depth, often eroding its banks. It will grow sideways if need be. Â It dies in the water, along with Sycamore, River Birch and Box Elder.
Above is the habitat of the Silver Maple, along the Schuylkill River at Valley Forge Park, Just north of Philadelphia.