Another day of WOW at the Dedham Town Forest

After two weeks of cold and rain, I finally got outside and went to the Dedham Town Forest for a couple hours yesterday. As always, the DTF had some breathtaking scenery waiting for me: swamps full of fiddleheads galore, jack(s) in the pulpit, skunk cabbage, fascinating fungi and slime molds, mosses, and all your favorite shrubs; plenty of bones, feathers, scat and other detritus; and fields of starflower, bellflower, partridgeberry, sarsparilla, wintergreen, and too many other native understory plants to list here. Here are a few highlights.

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Jack-in-the-pulpit – Arisaema triphyllum
Starflower
Starflower – Lysimachia borealis
Egg.
Egg.
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Smooth white violet – Viola pallens
Six spotted tiger beetle - Cicindela sexguttata
Six spotted tiger beetle – Cicindela sexguttata
Just another skull in the Town Forest
Just another skull in the Town Forest

This is something I found about a year ago. It appears to be a bunch of large stones arranged in a circle. I am hesitant to call it a stone circle because that implies some kind of ancient artifact. The stones truly appear to have been arranged in a circle, but it doesn’t appear to be ancient, maybe recent history (within the past couple centuries). The rocks are big, not enormous (3 to 5 feet across). I took a panorama shot which doesn’t really show the arrangement, but maybe it gives a sense of the space. I used photoshop to draw red circles on the large rocks. Let me know what you think.

Arranged rocks maybe?
Arranged rocks maybe?
Arranged rocks maybe? Stones circled in red.
Arranged rocks maybe? Stones circled in red.

And last, but not least, when I was in the Town Forest about 3 weeks ago, I stopped to pull some invasive garlic mustard. Something special about the DTF is that because it doesn’t get many visitors and isn’t close to residential and commercial property, it hasn’t been overrun by invasive plants. There are a few areas where the highway department trucks pass through on a service road where invasive plants have been introduced, but they haven’t spread very far. Japanese knotweed has only been in the DTF for about two years. I stopped to pull the garlic mustard before it flowered, and when I walked past the same area yesterday, I saw that there were only 7 or 8 stems growing (which I pulled). I was somewhat surprised, but not completely. If we manage to control invasives when we first see them, it is possible to slow or even stop their spread. Here is a photo of the area, which had a lot more garlic mustard growing a few weeks ago. Pay no attention to the burning bush (Euonymus alatus) marked with an arrow … I’ll get that later.

Not much garlic mustard here.
Not much garlic mustard here.