The Maryland Native Plant Society

As we continue to update our website, we would appreciate your comments and feed back. Send us broken links. Let us know which pages are important, but are hard to find: web@MDFlora.org

  • Home
  • Native Plant Walk

Native Plant Walk

  • 05/01/2010
  • 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Fort Dupont Park, SE, Washington, DC

Sponsoring Organizations: Anacostia Watershed Society, Maryland Native Plant Society, and the National Park Service.

The park comprises almost the entire area of Fort Dupont subwatershed which is approximately 460 acres; about 11% is impervious. It is the least populated subwatershed and the one with the highest level of forest cover in the Anacostia watershed, with a forest cover of 63.9%; the subwatershed possesses substantial areas of mature forests of 65 years or older. The park and the entire subwatershed are located entirely within the Coastal Plain physiographic province, although the park topography is quite hilly which explains why a military fort was built during the Civil War era.

Roughly more than 50 acres are infested with invasive plants. However, the magnificent mature forests of the park are, at many sites, almost free of invasive plants; in addition, there is a rather low deer population which means that the park has some healthy and nice-looking woods! In these sites the forest understory shelters native shrubs like mountain laurels (Kalmia latifolia) which are abundant on slopes. The Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) is another remarkable native species. At least two interesting native parasitic species occur in the park, Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana) and Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), the presence of the latter by itself shows how rich the woods are. Interestingly, the park has a healthy Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) population in the middle of the city!

We will walk through the park trails, especially the Hollow Tree Trail, the Hiker Biker Trail and the Ridge Picnic Areas. A group of botanists and conservationists from the Maryland Native Plant Society and the Anacostia Watershed Society will identify the park’s wonderful flora and its amazing natural history. The event will go on through a light rain but will be cancelled if there is a downpour.

Directions: We will meet up at the park’s Activity Center which is located on Fort Dupont Drive, SE, off Randle Circle, SE. Fort Dupont Park is located in Southeast Washington, D.C., east of the Anacostia River. It is not near Dupont Circle.  It is bounded by Minnesota Avenue to the west; Ely and Ridge Roads to the north; Alabama Avenue to the east; and Massachusetts Avenue to the south. 

  • From Northwest DC or Capitol Hill: Take Pennsylvania Avenue east over the Anacostia and take a left at Minnesota Avenue (maybe half a mile). Take Minnesota to Randle Circle (less than a mile) and take a right into the circle. You will see a National Park Service sign reading “Fort Dupont Park” and a small picnic area; take a right onto Fort Dupont Drive. The parking lot/Nature Center are a short way in on the left.
  • From 395: Take the Southeast/Southwest Freeway towards 295; exit Pennsylvania Avenue Westbound. Cross over the Anacostia and take a left at Minnesota (maybe half a mile). Take Minnesota to Randle Circle (less than a mile) and take a right into the circle. You will see a National Park Service sign reading “Fort Dupont Park” and a small picnic area; take a right onto Fort Dupont Drive. The parking lot/Nature Center are a short way in on the left.
  • From 295 Northbound: Exit Pennsylvania Avenue Westbound and take a left at Minnesota (maybe half a mile). Take Minnesota to Randle Circle (less than a mile) and take a right into the circle. You will see a National Park Service sign reading "Fort Dupont Park" and a small picnic area; take a right onto Fort Dupont Drive. The parking lot/Nature Center are a short way in on the left.
  • From Points East: Take Pennsylvania Ave into the city. Take a right on Minnesota Ave. Take Minnesota to Randle Circle (less than a mile) and take a right into the circle. You will see a National Park Service sign reading “Fort Dupont Park” and a small picnic area; take a right onto Fort Dupont Drive. The parking lot/Nature Center are a short way in on the left.

Bring: We strongly recommend long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and closed-toe shoes (hiking or waterproof). This helps minimize skin exposure to poison ivy and ticks, which are found in the park (If clothing can also be light-colored, it’ll be easier to spot ticks.). We recommend bringing along a repellant designed to repel both deer ticks and mosquitoes and a water bottle. Don’t forget to bring your plant and wildflower field guides, a hand lens and enjoy one of the best urban greenspaces in the nation!

Note: Poison ivy is commonly found in the park, if you are allergic to poison ivy take all the appropriate measures to avoid getting in contact with the plant and its irritant oils.

Contact: Jorge Bogantes at: jorge@anacostiaws.org; phone: (301)-699-6204 or (202)560-6107 (better phone number if calling on the day of the event).

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software