Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Photos of Flora and Fauna at Rockwoods Reservation

ROCKWOODS RESERVATION in western Saint Louis County, Missouri, is one of the oldest conservation areas in the state, dating from 1938, and has long been a favorite place for my family. Here are some photos of the flora, fauna, and minerals of that park.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - hills

A view from a lookout point, near sunset. The ranger station and road down below are invisible among the trees.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - Redbud tree

A Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). In other parts of the world, this species is called the Judas tree.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - Spring Beauty blossom

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica), one of the earliest opening flowers in the state.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - Common Violet blossom

Common violet (Viola sororia)

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - Dutchman's Breeches blossoms

Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria).

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - Trillium foliage

Trillium species, almost ready to bloom.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - old railroad stone wall

This is not a pristine forest, and the works of man are evident. This stone wall was once part of a raised railroad bed, used to haul stone out from the quarries.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - rocks 2

Moss covers most rock surfaces in sheltered areas.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - cliff 2

This cliff was once likely a wall of a quarry.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - cliff 1

Rockwoods has many caves, including these at the bottom of the cliff.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - cave

The interior of one of the caves. The entrance is rather awkward, and I didn't want to get muddy, so I just put my camera into the narrow cave opening.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - cave 2

Another cave. Generally speaking, Missouri's caves tend to be 'living', that is, are still being formed and enlarged due to the action of flowing water. The state's caves are also teeming with life, often with many rare species that are only found in a few caves.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - deer

A Whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - yellow blossoms

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - meadow

A rich, moist meadow at the bottom of an old quarry. The paths seen here have numerous deer hoof-prints.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - swamp and rocks

Further down the quarry floor is this swamp, with large blocks in the background.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - rocks

It is hard to tell if this pile of boulders is natural, or if they were placed here by quarrymen.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - sponge rock

A close-up of sponge-rock. Water slowly dissolves the stone, eventually leading to the formation of caves. This porous limestone was often used in decorative stonework. Increased standardization in construction has led to the disuse of interesting local materials such as this.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - pale flower

This flower looks like it may be from the Rose family.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - ferns 1

Ferns, which thrive in coolness, shade, and moisture, are abundant on this particular north-facing, sheltered hillside.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - ferns 2

Young fern fronds, called fiddleheads or croziers, are considered a delicacy: but they have to be carefully cooked and eaten sparingly.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - valley

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - flint

The upper reaches of the hills are covered by flint, used by the Indians to make arrowheads and other tools.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - budding leaves

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - blue flowers

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - springs

While the uplands at Rockwoods have many caves, the valley floor has many springs.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - lawn

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - snake 1

The ranger station has a small museum, including these native animals. This is a Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus).

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - tarantula

Tarantulas are normally thought of a desert species; in the United States these are usually found in the desert Southwest. Missouri has no deserts, but dry, exposed, and rocky south-facing slopes — called glades — are good habitat for tarantulas, scorpions, and other desert species. This is a Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi), and is as big as your hand. I've been told that they make good pets.

Rockwoods Reservation, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, USA - snake 2

This is a Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus holbrooki). Like the other snake shown here, this is a harmless species. However, big, deadly poisonous vipers are commonly found in Missouri, including Copperheads, Cottonmouths, and Rattlesnakes

No comments:

Post a Comment