A ruderal community beside the retaining wall

This lists, or begins to, the plant community of a ruderal habitat near our house that began about eight years ago. A backhoe tore up all the shallow weedy turf on a slope to the west of a 12-foot-high stone retaining wall to allow construction of concrete buttresses for the wall. From the wall to the Sawyer Kill is about 30 feet. The southern end is ¾ sun, the northern shaded. When the buttresses were finished, we spread imported loamy topsoil in a thin layer over most of the clayey slope and seeded the area (aprox 3000 square feet) with “No Mow” grass mix from Prairie Nursery. It took pretty well in the first two years, then began to be hidden under taller flora. We paid little attention to the succession since until this year, when I got belatedly interested in native plants.

A photo of the habitat from the south end is on https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/181348364

On August 29 I spent about half an hour noting the plants seen in this almost-all-volunteer community. All of them are in my I Nat album, though not all the observations are research grade. To my dismay, it seems that unless we intervene, the highly invasive mugwort soon will dominate at least the sunnier, southern, half of the arena. I was pleased to see, though, how many native plants are established without any help from us except for the kinds marked with an asterisk – one sapling each of two tree species, some transplanted Chasmanthium latifolium, and a couple of small clumps of two kinds of native fern.

Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
White woodland aster Eurybia divaricata
Wrinkle-leaved goldenrod Solidago rugosa
Hoary tick trefoil Desmodium canescens
Bitternut hickory Carya cordiformis
*Inland wood oats Chasmanthium latifolium
*Sycamore Platanus occidentalis
Partridge pea Chamaecrista fasciculata
White vervain Verbena urticifolia
Slippery elm Ulmus rubra
*Shad blow Ameliancher arborea
Purpletop trident Tridens flavus
Cutleaf sunflower Rudbeckia laciniata
Broad-leaved enchanter’s nightshade Circaea canadensis
Philadelphia fleabane Erigeron philadelphicus
Canada clearweed Pilea pumila
Tall hairy agrimony Agrimonia gryposepala
White snakeroot Ageritina altissima
False nettle Boehmeria cylindrica
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Riparian grape Vitis riparia
Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana
Northern catalpa Catalpa speciosa
*Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis
*Northern lady fern Athyrium angustum
Poison ivy Toxicodendron radicans
Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca
Common Ragweed Ambrosia artemisifolia noticed Sept 2
Smooth bedstraw Complex Galium mollugo noticed Sept 2


Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Tree of life Ailanthus altissima
Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii
Ground ivy Glechoma hederaceae
Devil’s beggartick Bidens frondosa
Black swallow-wort Vincetoxicum nigrum
Ribwort plantain Plantago lanceolata
Oriental bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus
Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense
Queen Anne’s lace Daucus carota
Common hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Fescues Genus Festuca
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora
Privet Genus Ligustrum
Japanese creeper Parthenocissus tricuspidata
Stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum
Yellow Archangel Lamium galeobdolon
Myrtle Vinca minor
Yellow sweet clover Meliotis officinalis
Red clover Trifolium pratense
Broadleaf plantain Plantago major noticed Sept 2

Visible in the community at other times of year native
Blue-eyed grass Genus Sisyrinchium
Indian tobacco Lobelia inflata
Visible at other times of year not native
*Daffodils Genus Narcissus
Dame’s Rocket Hesperis matronalis

*asterisk marks a kind of native plant I transplanted or planted direct
underscore marks an invasive I ignorantly transplanted

I am indebted to the more than 400 i Nat community members who have guided me with identifications and suggestions since I joined in Dec 2021. Thank you all, and thanks to the organizers who built and run this extraordinary platform.

Publicado el 01 de septiembre de 2023 a las 09:38 PM por stephenshafer stephenshafer


Fotos / Sonidos


Mariposa Media Luna Perlada (Phyciodes tharos)


Agosto 30, 2023 a las 06:00 PM EDT


In the ruderal habitat ( journal posted today) by the east bridge. Usually I find these in the open pasture nearby.
Likable creatures https://westboroughlandtrust.org/nn/nn101.php


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