What are the strange growths on this fallen tree?
They are a type of mushroom called a polypore. Polypores are also known as shelf fungi, because they tend to grow out from the tree in woody shelves.
As you walk the trails, you'll see small signs that have been placed at locations of interest. Just follow the instructions on the sign and use your cell phone to call in for an audio tour to learn more about each location. Alternately, you can browse the links online to both hear the audio tour and view supplemental media for each tour stop.
See the current Wireless Wilderness tour stops to customize your guided tour of the park.
Most people come to this garden to see butterflies, but there are plenty of other insects here. One of the most important groups is the bees. Most of us think “honey bee” when we hear the word “bee,” but did you know that honey bees are not native to the United States? They were brought here in 1622 by early colonists who recognized their importance to agriculture.
In addition to the striking Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers, West 11th Street Park is home to four other species of woodpeckers.
This plant is a Palmetto, a very hardy palm with mostly underground stems. It is a native on the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. These palms like to grow in damp soil, so they are usually found on stream banks and in wetland areas.
Some oak trees, even large, old ones, can have very shallow root structures. Look at the roots on this massive oak tree that was uprooted during Hurricane Ike. See how shallow they were? High winds, such as in a hurricane, strain these shallow roots. If their strength is exceeded, then the tree falls.
But the life does not stop. There is now a small pond where the tree's root ball was. This is called an ephemeral pond— when it rains, the pond will collect and hold water, but it will eventually dry up if we have a long, hot, dry spell, especially during the summer.