Botanist's Lens: Habitat Connections
Today, let's have a look at a couple of habitat connections you can find at Historic London Town and Gardens. If you stroll through the woodland gardens in the coming weeks, you will not miss the May Apples (Podophyllum peltatum), happily growing under the luscious shade of the upper canopy trees.
The umbrella shaped leaves protect the delicate white flowers underneath. They prefer wet feet and indirect sunlight. More than that though, they are probably happiest when the box turtles visit them.
Why? Well reproduction is the key role why plants are putting in their energy towards to eventually make flowers that make the fruits and seeds. What's the purpose, if plant species can't thrive and reproduce?
Box turtles apparently are the *only* dispersal agents for the May Apples. When they eat the fruits, they are able to digest the seeds out in a way that helps break the dormancy of the seeds.
The box turtles enjoy the food and the shade around the May Apples. The May Apples, however, truly depend on the turtles to do the complete the cycle of reproduction for them.
Next time you work around a grove of May Apples in a moist area, make sure you leave room for the turtles, or if you have box turtles in your yard, add some May Apples to complete the habitat.
Can you guess the other habitat connection you can find and should explore at London Town?
Humans and plants! There are ample activities and connections to be made for all age groups. Experiential learning can happen in any garden, at anytime and in numerous forms.
Gardens are transient, but once a connection is made to a habitat or a species, that is surely everlasting. Find your connection to your habitat at London Town's gardens and share with us!
Photo of May Apples by Dinny White