Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cedar Glade Visit

Taking advantage of a beautiful Saturday, Beth and I met up with friends at the Mount View Glade State Natural Area. I did some field work in the cedar glades near LaVergne, Tennessee while a biology student at David Lipscomb College back in 1981-82, and I must say it felt good to be back in the glades.

Although I had visited cedar glade areas many times (30+ years ago), I had never been here, and I was glad to get a tour from my friends, Steve and his brother Randy. Mount View Glade State Natural Area is the site where the Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis) was rediscovered in 1968 by Vanderbilt University biologist Elsie Quarterman and her graduate student Barbara Turner. The Tennessee coneflower had previously been thought to be extinct. After this rediscovery the coneflower has also been found in a few other isolated cedar glade areas in Davidson and Wilson counties. The Mount View Glade is a little 9 acre site tucked in the middle of housing development. In my opinion, it will always be threatened simply because it is so small (but I digress into ecological studies).

Cedar glade areas are overlooked and under-appreciated by most people. At first glance, they certainly don't look like much. I have to admit, they basically look like abandoned parking lots. The cedar glades are home to a unique ecosystem, however, and they have come to be loved by many wildflower enthusiasts and other naturalists. In addition to the Tennessee Coneflower, there are several other plants that are endemic to the limestone cedar glades of the south. Among them are the Nashville Breadroot, Glade Violet, and Gladecress pictured below.

Nashville Breadroot (Pediomelum subacaule)

Long-styled Gladecress (Leavenworthia stylosa) -- yellow color form

Glade Violet (Viola egglestonii)

Glade Violet (Viola egglestonii)

Hoary Puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)



We next went over to the Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area, a 122 acre site that seemed more like the cedar glade areas that I was more familiar with. I think I will return here for more visits.

Nashville Breadroot (Pediomelum subacaule)

Long-styled Gladecress (Leavenworthia stylosa) -- white color form

Long-styled Gladecress (Leavenworthia stylosa) -- white color form

Long-styled Gladecress (Leavenworthia stylosa) -- white color form

False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve)

My friend Steve checking out the stream that flows through this glade

Beth watching tadpoles and snails in the stream


Revisiting the cedar glades reminded me of two things. One, I'm glad I live in a hilly forest. I do love to be surrounded by hills and big, old trees. Two, I need to get back to the cedar glades again soon—and often.


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