Found in the Fells – December

 

It has to be admitted that there isn’t so much to immediately delight the eye in the winter, not if we’re used to Technicolor. But there are compensations. The absence of much foliage means that one can see much further in all directions in the woods in the winter, whereas in summer our view gets often hemmed in to looking along the path ahead of us. If we’re quietly on foot and keep alert there is a better chance of seeing animal inhabitants of the Fells. In December ’04 I saw a very handsome, healthy-looking fox in Lawrence Woods.

 

It is also easier to spot the several evergreen plants that grow on the forest floor. From the Pyrola family are Striped Wintergreen, Pipsissewa and Round-leaved Pyrola. Other ground-cover wintergreens in the Fells are Teaberry, Bearberry and Partridgeberry. These latter all produce red berries but don’t expect to see too many berries later into winter – they have most likely been eaten by chipmunks and birds.


 

 

            frosted chimaphila          Teaberry with frost

                  Ice crystals on Striped Wintergreen leaves                       Frosted Teaberry leaves and berry

 

Then about half of all ferns and all clubmosses are evergreen and so late fall, and into December if we don't have snow yet, is a good time to see these attractive plants as they are easier to spot now that the competition has died back. 

               Christmas Fern              Prince's Pine

                   Christmas Fern  Polystichum acrostichoides                                  Prince's  Pine    Lycopodium hickeyi

                                                                                            An approximately nine inch tall clubmoss, related to ferns