This woodland is a typical mesic forest community. Mesic (Mee-zic) is a term that describes environments that are neither extremely wet (hydric) nor extremely dry (xeric) (Zee-ric). Vegetation is layered in the forest; topmost is the canopy layer, followed by the understory, shrub and herbaceous layers. When all layers are present, as here, there will be diverse habitats that can support a variety of animals. Nearby cherry saplings in the shrub layer have strange protrusions on their leaves. These are galls created when wasps and other insects inject their eggs into the leaves; the leafy projection shelters the developing eggs. Some wasp species deposit their eggs into oak twigs; others event insert their eggs into living caterpillars!
Please note the many species of ferns in this area. Ahead to the left is a red maple with numerous knots on its trunk. These can result from broken limbs, galls or other surface damage. Knots often contort the growth rings, making the wood useful as decorative lumber.
View a map of the Nature Walk