The Hemlock Swamp
Nourished by runoff and ever flowing springs, the hemlock swamp adds a unique community to the Nature Center landscape. Found here are plants which grow well in cool environments. Some of these plants also grow in higher elevations such as on the slopes of the Green Mountains. Goldthread, Bunchberry, Wood Sorrel, and Clintonia are among the “cool-loving” plants found in the swamp.
Hemlocks dominate here thriving in the cool, shady conditions. Many grow on small hummocks which prevent their shallow root systems from becoming inundated with water. Yellow Birches are also common here, supported by their stilt-like roots. These “perching birches” began in the fertile soil of a rotting log and as the trees grew their roots wrapped around the log. After the logs eventually rotted away the birches were left suspended.
In the open water along the boardwalk grows duckweed — the smallest flowering plant. Marsh marigold, skunk cabbage, sensitive fern, jewelweed, cattails and others plants adapted for wet areas can be found here. Pause and enjoy this special place.
Text/art:Green Mountain Audubon Society
A Nature of Place Project