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The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society

Continued Field Studies of Regional Serpentine Barrens

01/22/2011 4:49 PM | Anonymous

A small area of forested serpentinite glades near the Potomac River on the upper slope and terrace above Watts Branch (east side), Montgomery County, Maryland with some characteristic ultramafic indicators (when in association), such as Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), White Ash (Fraxinus americana), mixed grasses - mainly Rock Muhly (Muehlenbergia sobolifera) and Bosc's Panic Grass (Dichanthelium boscii), and scattered colonies of Leonard's Skullcap (Scutellaria leonardii). This site is a small continuation of the much larger Travilah Serpentine Barrens approximately 3 miles to the north.


Northern Red Oak in serpentinite glade above Watts Branch, Montgomery County, Maryland. Photo by R.H. Simmons.

Old place names nearby also denote the limits of the once-vast serpentine barrens that occurred at Travilah, such as Big Pines, Quince Orchard (generic name for Rosaceae plants common to serpentine like Wild Crabapple and Hawthorne), and Greenbrier Creek (we mostly avoided crossing an impenetrable portion of this on the Winter Solstice Walk!). The enormous serpentinite quarry adjacent to the Travilah site is referenced in the paper below as the "Hunting Hill" quarry.

 

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