PLANTS AND PEOPLE - Biology 328
Hugh D. Wilson - rm. 306, Butler Hall

lcp map

Lick Creek Park is in southern College Station.  The main entrance is on Rock Prairie Road, a bit more than 2 miles S of the junction with Greens Prairie Road (Hwy 40.) We will have rented vehicles.  Plan to ride with us.  If for some reason you *have* to meet us out there, please let us know in writing ahead of time so that we do not wait in the lab for you.




Objectives for this lab are to:
□ learn about the history of the vegetation in the park
□ discuss the effects of human activity on the vegetation
□ recognize and identify the dominant canopy trees, shrub species, vines, and grasses
□ recognize and identify selected wildflowers that belong to families we have studied
□ discuss the edibility or uses of some of the native plants
□ review morphology and terminology of families we have studied
□ review characteristics of monocots, dicots, and non-flowering plants

Safety concerns:
□ Closed-toe shoes must be worn. 
□ Do not wander away from the group.
□ Learn what poison ivy looks like so that you can avoid it.
□ DO NOT eat any plant unless specifically instructed to do so.
□ Do not touch or handle any wildlife.  Venomous snakes are found in the park.
□ Obey any directions your TA, lab coordinator, or tour host gives you
□ Watch where you step.  Be alert for fire ants, mud, rocks, etc.
□ Wear your seat belt and avoid horseplay in the vans
□ If you are sensitive to sun, wear sun screen and/or a hat.  Carry water if you need to
□ There are no restroom facilities at the park

    
NOTES:  All animals and vegetation in the park is protected by law.  Do not pick any plants. We have permission to pass around a leaf here and there, but we should try to limit our impact on the park.

We will cover a fair amount of ground–keep up with the group.  Some of the plants are small–step up where you can see what is being talked about.

ACTIVITY

  There are perhaps 500 vascular plant species inhabiting the mosaic of plant communities of Lick Creek Park.  Once an active series of pastures, this 500+ acre 'natural area' has been relatively undisturbed for over 40 years.  Natural plant communities can be roughly broken down into two basic forest types, upland and bottomland. Open areas that we will encounter represent old pastures that are returning, via ecological succession, to either type.

A virtual field trip to Lick Creek Park, including a complete plant species list can be found online.

1. Work on distinguishing angiosperms from other elements of the Lick Creek Park flora and, within angiosperms, between monocots and dicots

    Gymnosperm - Juniperus virginianus (Plants Profile)
    Pteridophyte (Fern) -
Pleopeltis polypodioides var. michauxianum and Woodsia obtusa 

2. Be able to recognize families:

    a. Asteraceae (family overview); focus:  Pyrrhopappus, Sonchus, Senecio
    b. Fabaceae or Leguminosae (Vicia, Baptisia; overview of the Fabales)
    c. Poaceae (overview - also = Gramineae;  focus:  Bromus)

3. Be able to identify (apply technical name and family to a specimen):

    Trees:
       
American Persimmon - Diospyros virginiana (Ebenaceae)

Oak Quercus (Fagaceae) - major food producer (acorns.) Be able to distinguish the most common species by habit, leaf shape, and bark characters.
Quercus stellata (Post Oak)
Q. nigra (Water Oak)
Q. marilandica (Blackjack Oak)

       Hickory Carya (Juglandaceae) - same genus as pecan; same family as walnut

         Elm Ulmus (Ulmaceae) - many species with useful wood.

  Vines:

Grape - Vitis (Vitaceae) - several species.  Compare with Virginia creeper - Parthenocissus - not edible
Dewberry, Blackberry - Rubus  - from subfamily Rosideae of the Rosaceae
Poison Ivy - Toxicodendron radicans - irritant member of the AnacardiaceaeWhat are the distinguishing features?

Shrubs:

FarkleberryVaccinium arboreum ( Ericaceae ) - our local blueberry, unique in its adaptation to alkaline soils
Yaupon holly Ilex vomitoria - (Aquifoliaceae ) - cultural use in the "black drink"
American beauty-berry - Callicarpa americana -(Verbenaceae) - not edible

For more information, see this page on the Flora of the Western Gulf Coastal Plain


Last updated 1/12/2011 by MDR

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