Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove Updated June, 2003 and September, 2003

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Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove

Updated June, 2003 and September, 2003

Source Walks: 5-10-93, 6-19-94, 8-10-96 and 10-5 & 6-02

Among the few remnants of mesic primary forest in the Central Appalachians, the Fanny Bennett tract is a standout in its beauty and diversity. Although only 65 acres (26 ha.) in area, it embraces two stream bottoms, slopes of both northeast and southwest aspect and a ridge top. Technically a part of the Valley and Ridge Province, it is located in an area of transition with many of the characteristics of the Allegheny Mountains and Plateau. Elevations range from a little less than 3000 ft. (910 meters) to about 3250 ft. (990 meters) asl on a slope which rises continuously to Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia. Bedrock underlying the grove is Mississippian Pocono Group sandstone and shale, but the Greenbrier Limestone lies just upslope and exerts its influence through the drainage system ( Cardwell et al, 1968)

The most convenient approach to the Grove is via the Sawmill Branch Road from Route 28. This road follows the picturesque gorge of Sawmill Branch upstream through a secondary but rich and diverse mesic forest. This forest is mixed mesophyte with Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera ) at its lower elevations of about 2500 ft (760 meters), but northern hardwood at the Fanny Bennett Grove, where no Tuliptree was seen. A west-trending prong of Sawmill Branch passes through the center of the Grove while the mainstem of this stream crosses its southeast edge.

The 1993 and 1994 visits were brief and generally occupied by introductory observations, while that of 1996 concentrated on the flora. A further visit in 2003 was largely for the purpose of studying its bryophytes. Consequently, few observations of fauna were made. However the common calls of Scarlet Tanagers (Piranga olivacea) were noted in the June 1994 visit. Also on the 5-19-93 visit many tiny crayfish were seen in the stream within the grove. Since August is a quiet time for birds, few complicated our botanizing. Although we examined the stream in a cursory way for aquatic life, little was in evidence at that time. This may have been a consequence of heavy scour experienced by these streams during then-recent floods.

The 8-10-96 traverses through the Grove were more systematic than the previous visits. The first extended a little way along the established entrance trail leading into the interior on the northeast side of the stream. It then crossed the west prong stream bottom to the slope on the southwest, ascended this slope to a terminating bench and curved downward to the floodplain of the mainstem Sawmill Branch. Total length of this traverse was perhaps a half mile (0.8 km). The second traverse ascended the opposite slope to the northeast to the ridge crest, extended along this crest to the northwest, descended to the west prong and returned to the entrance trail. This traverse was perhaps a little longer than the first.

The initial impression on entering the grove is of a forest dominated by very mature if not old growth Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). While the Hemlock are impressively tall, their girths do not compare with some old growth specimens in other locales, as in Cathedral State Park for example. Generally they do not much exceed 3 feet (0.9 meters) dbh. Along the interior stream bottom the Hemlocks share dominance with Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ), Sugar and Red Maples (Acer saccharum and S. rubrum ), Yellow and Black Birches ( Betula alleghaniensis and B. lenta), White and Northern Red Oaks (Quercus alba and Q. rubra), White Ash (Fraxinus americana), American Basswood (Tilia americana) and Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). A striking feature is the abundance of large dead snags, dead falls and large woody debris. Debris dams are common in the stream, which flows over a rocky bed of layered sandstone. While the understory and shrub layer are sparse along the stream bottom, there is some Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum), Alternate-leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) and Hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium ). A few Mountain Ash (Pyrus americana ) seedlings were also noted. While Hemlock dominates in this bottom, there are few seedlings or saplings of the species and the same is also true of Red Spruce (Picea rubens), which occurs elsewhere in the Grove. As in other old growth Hemlock forests, there is an aura here of cool serenity without gloom and a pervasive odor of mouldering wood and fungi that is the essence of the slow uninterrupted slide toward equilibrium between the organic and mineral worlds.

The slope to the southwest of the stream, where a northeast aspect prevails, is decidedly mesic and perhaps less acidic than the interior stream bottom. Here are some very large Sugar Maple and tree fall gaps where other old giants have been toppled, perhaps aided by unstable soils on the steep slope. These gaps contain abundant saplings of Sugar, Red and Striped Maple, Black Birch and a few Cucumber Magnolia (Magnolia acuminata ) and many of these saplings show evidence of continued soil creep in the form of curved and contorted trunks. On the bench which tops this mesic slope the old growth ends and is replaced by mature but secondary stands consisting largely of Northern Red and White Oaks. Also, in contrast to the primary slope forest, the forest floor is virtually free of shrubs and herbs and bears a heavy leaf mat.

The descent to the floodplain of the mainstem Sawmill Branch is through increasingly rich forest similar to that of the west prong bottom. It no doubt differs in species composition details, as in the presence of Slippery Elm ( Ulmus rubra ). However our traverse was largely occupied with the herbaceous layer.

What follows is a listing of species other than trees encountered on the first traverse. These are predominantly herbs but also include the many luxuriant mosses of the acidic west prong bottom and even a few animals. The species are listed roughly in the sequence in which they were encountered, or rather, noticed. First along the short section of the trail leading from the entrance: Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens ), Intermediate Shield Fern (Dryopteris intermedia ) and Round-leaf Violet (Viola rotundifolia ), all very abundant, and the last-named the most abundant seen to that date anywhere by this observer. Then conspicuous Golden Chantarelle mushroom (Cantharellus cibarius ), Common Speedwell (Vernonica officinalis ), Mountain Oat or Allegheny Flyback grass (Danthonia compressa ), largely in the trail, Plume Moss (Ptilium crista-castrensis ) and our rarest find, a single plant of Lesser Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera repens ) in bloom. One of the few other locations reported for this plant is in the Hemlock groves of the Cathedral State Park to the north. Next noted were Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda ), Lady Fern (Anthyrium filix-femina ), Curtis Goldenrod (Solidago curtisii ) and rather stunted Plume Lily (Smilacina racemosa ). Then crossing the bottom and stream to the southeast: patches of Wild Stone Crop (Sedum ternatum ),Mountain Aster (Aster acuminatus ) and Alpine Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circæa alpina ), the last two usually being confined to high elevations or equivalent cool domains. Here also, under moist, moss-covered rocks near the stream, we found a Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus ), in our only real attempt to find salamanders. Continuing on across the bottom, we encountered successively Sweet-scented Bedstraw (Galium triflorum ), Shining Clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum ), Mountain Fern Moss (Hylocomium splendens ), Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis ), Two-leaved Toothwort (Dentaria diphylla ), the Leafy Liverwort Bazzania trilobata, Hairy Disporum (Disporum lanuginosum ), Delicate Fern Moss (Thuidium delicatatum ), Wake Robin (Trillium erectum ), Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquifolia ), a single plant of Sharp - lobe Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba ), Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera ), Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides ), Cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana ), the sedge, Carex gracillima, a Haircap Moss (Polytrichum sp), White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum ), an unidentified False Haircap Moss (Atrichum sp.) and Canada Mayflower (Mainathemum canadense ).

On ascending the southwest slope in the vicinity of the large Sugar Maple and tree fall gap, the “Fireweed” Erechtites hieracifolia was noted among saplings and rich herbage. Other species encountered here were Halberd-leaf Violet (Viola hastata ), Palmate-leaf violet (Viola palmata ), Purple Bedstraw (Galium latifolium ), the Sedge Carex digitalis, an unidentified Clintonia, Indian Pipe ( Monotropa uniflora ), Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum ) and a rapidly moving wood vole. In an unusually moist area on a mound of a recently toppled tree, there was a community consisting of Clearweed (Pilea pumila ), Christmas Fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides ), Hay-scented Fern (Dennstædtia punctilobula ) a little Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa ), Interrupted Fern (Onoclea sensibilis ), White Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana ), Dutchman’s Pipe Vine (Aristolochia macrophylla ) and the alien mints Saturega vulgaris and Galeopsis tetrahit. Nearby associates were Smooth Gooseberry (Ribes rotundifolium ) and Maple-leaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium ).

In one place an unusual and very local association was encountered. This was a close, almost intergrown mixture, of Sharp - lobe Hepatica and Canada Mayflower with Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens) only a few feet ( less than one meter) distant. The substrate for this association was soil in sandstone talus, indicating a likely acid reaction, as did two out of the three herbs present. As is well known, Sharp - lobe Hepatica is most common on calcareous terrain, so this occurrence seems to indicate that this species' stability extends into the acid range.

After descending this slope toward the east, the traverse reached the Sawmill Branch mainstem bottom. A partial list of species in the luxuriant herbaceous layer of the bottom included Canada Violet (Viola canadensis ), Blue Monkshood (Aconitum uncinatum ), Virginia Knotweed (Polygonum virginianum ), Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum), Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides ), Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, both species of Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis and I. pallida ), Tree Moss (Climacium americanum ), Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia ), Wood Nettle, Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Hog Peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata ) Crooked-stem Aster (Aster prenanthoides ), Big-leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus ), Broad-leaf Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis ), Wide -leaved Joe-pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum), Alpine Enchanter’s Nightshade, Common Greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia) and, in one place, Bulbiferous Bladder Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera ) under a Slippery Elm sapling and rooted in organic flood debris. It should be noted that all species in this list for which scientific names are given were not previously encountered in the traverse.

The traverse up the northeast ridge is through forest unlike the rich mesic stands encountered in the stream bottoms. Here it is dryer and perhaps more acidic than elsewhere in the Grove. On the lower and middle slope the canopy is dominated by the large Hemlock, but as the upper slope and ridge crest is approached there are increasing numbers of Northern Red and White Oaks with some Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus) near the top. On the upper slope and ridge crest there are also large White Pine (Pinus strobus) as well as Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Red Maple, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) and Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida). White Pine increases in proportion along the ridge crest toward the northwest.

Although no Red Spruce were seen on the first traverse, saplings of this tree are a conspicuous part of the understory along the upper slope toward the northwest. Sizes range from tiny saplings and seedlings to some as large as nine inches (23 cm) dbh. Also, while the bottomland contains few seedlings or saplings of Hemlock, they are far more abundant on the upper slope of this ridge and in some places form dense stands in the understory.

While shrubs and herbaceous ground cover are both sparse on this southwest-facing slope, there is a systematic change in them with elevation. Herbs noted on the lower and middle slope include Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia ), Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum ), Filmy Angelica (Angelica triquinata ), Sessile-leaved Bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia ), Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale ) and Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum ). Lower trunks and roots of large trees were frequently moss-covered and Leucobryum cushions were common. A few patches of Bazzania were also noted. In one place there were spectacular glossy red conks of the Polypore fungus Ganoderma tsugæ on a long-dead Hemlock snag. While lichens were uncommon on the darkly-shaded trunks, twigs fallen from the canopy bore growths of Pseudevernia consocians as well as other species.

On the upper slope and ridge top, where light was available under a more deciduous canopy, Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) was more prominent, a few shrubs of Upland Low Blueberry (Vaccinium pallidum ) and considerable Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) moderated the open stands of large trees. Here also we saw the first Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens ), in confirmation of increased dry as well as acid soils. However, on continuing along the ridge to the stand of large White Pine referred to earlier, there was again a change in ground cover, this time in the form of a virtually single-species occurrence of abundant Canada Mayflower in the thick needle duff beneath the pines.

Although little time was available for observations of fauna, the presence of some large land snail shells is of interest. Given the generally acid and probably low-lime soils in places such as this ridge, the presence of these animals attest to their ability to manufacture carbonate against an unfavorable environmental gradient.

The different habitats of this small valley are an interesting study in contrasts. The bottomland along the west prong stream of the Grove is clearly rich in plant growth, but with drainage from proximate sandstone and to a certain extent from the Greenbrier Limestone upstream, contains a number of acidiphile species. This acid character is somewhat moderated on the northeast-facing slope and seems greatly diminished on the bottomland along the Sawmill Branch mainstem. Virtually every species recorded along the mainstem is either favored by or dependent on neutral or alkaline conditions. Such species as Bladder Fern and Slippery Elm are particularly diagnostic. Since this bottom is underlain by the same Pocono Sandstone as the bordering slopes (Cardwell et al, 1968), it is likely that the alkalinity and nutrient content of this habitat is strongly influenced by the Greenbrier Limestone just upstream.

Contrasting greatly with the luxuriance of the herbaceous species along this bottom is the relatively dry, acidic and presumably nutrient-poor southwest-facing slope. Here are large Hemlocks to be sure, but on the upper slope and ridge top these soon give way to xeric Oaks and pines, and nowhere is there significant herbaceous ground cover.

The occurrence of Red Spruce in the understory on this slope poses an interesting question. Is this tree moving into this area as a result of climatic change? A more likely conclusion is that recent fire suppression has allowed this to occur.

The Fanny Bennett grove lies on the lower south slope of Spruce Mountain with Spruce Knob just to the northeast (see our section on Spruce Knob). Thus there is considerable potential for cold air drainage from the high slopes to the Grove. This may explain the occurrence of such species as Mountain Ash and Circæa alpina here. However the generally continuous slopes down-valley along Sawmill Branch indicates that this effect should not be large.

Above all the Fanny Bennett Grove stands as a precious remnant of the forest’s unsullied past and with unlimited potential as a source of information on what has been lost.

The following is a list of fungi identified by R.Hunsucker from a collection made in the Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove on 8-10-96: A "c" indicates occurrence also in the following list. In constructing these lists Phillips (1991) and Miller (1979) were used to compile the list. However identification of species was based on a variety of resources.

Aleuria aurantia - non-poisonous cup fungus
Amanita ceciliae - on soil
c Amanita citrina - on soil, poisonous to nonpoisonous
Amanita flavoconia "Yellow Patches" - on soil
Amanita fulva - on soil, edible, mediocre
Amanita pantherina - on soil, deadly poisonous
Amanita rubescens "The Blusher" - on soil, non - poisonous
Amanita virosa "Destroying Angel", deadly poisonous
Armillariella mellea

"Honey Mushroom" or "Shoestring Fungus" - deadly parasite on trees that sends out black rhizomorphs that resemble boot laces to infect distant trees, edible, excellent

Austroboletus gracilis - on soil under aspen, oak, pine and hemlock.
Boletus affinis - under hardwood, edible
Boletus badius - often on decaying stumps, edible
Boletus spp - on soil
Bulgaria inequinani - on wood
Cantharellus cibarius - on soil, edible
Cerrena unicolor - on wood
Clavariadelphus pistillaris - especially on beech leaf litter
Clavulinopsis fusiformis "Golden Spindles" - on soil. edible
Clitocybe gibba - variable habitat, edible
Clitocybe robusta - on leaf and needle debris
Clitocybe trullaeformis - on leaf and needle debris
Clitocybe spp
c Collybia confluens - on leaf and needle debris, edible
c Collybia dryophila - on humus and deep leaf litter, poisonous
Cortinarius corrugatus - on soil in moist deciduous woods, especially beech
Cortinarius sp - on soil
Craterellus fallax "Black Trumpet", under hardwoods
c Crepidotus applanatus - on dead hardwoods
Crepidotus mollis - on dead hardwoods
Daedaliopsis confragosa - on dead wood and wounds of living trees
Entoloma murraii - on soil in damp woods and swamps
Fomes fomentarius "Hoof Fungus" (shaped like hoof) - polypore on birch and maple
Ganoderma applanatum - bracket fungus on hardwoods
Ganoderma tsugae - bracket fungus on hemlock
Hohenbuchelia petaloides
Hygrocybe flavescens
Hygrocybe marginatus
Hypomyces hyalinus - (an Ascomycetes), parasitic on various Amanitas
Inocybe spp. - small micorrhizal forest species
Laccaria laccata - on damp acid soil, frequently under conifers
Lactarius lignyotus - on acid soil under conifers
Lactarius subpurpureus - on soil under pines
Leccinum scabrum - under birch and aspen, edible, good
Leotia lubrica- (an Ascomycetes), on soil or litter
Leptonia serrulata
Lycoperdon marginatum - edible puffball on soil
c Lycoperdon perlatum - edible puffball on soil
Marasmius rotula - on twigs, leaves, debris
Marasmius siccus - on twigs, leaves, debris
Mycena leaiana - on dead hardwood
Naematoloma sublateritium (syn Hypholoma sublateritium) "Brick Cap" - cespitose on dead hardwood, edible,good
Oudenmansiella radicata - edible
c Panellus stipticus - on dead wood
c Pleurotus porrigens (syn
Pleurocybella porigens) "Angel Wings" - on dead conifers, edible, good
c Pseudohydnum gelatinosum - a Jelly Fungus on decaying conifer down wood and stumps, edible
Phylloporus rhodoxanthus - on ground, edible, good
Ramariopsis kunzei - on humus, edible
Ramaria spp (coral fungi)
Russula cf flavida -on soil, edible
c Scleroderma citrinum - on ground and on rotting hemlock and Beech, a poisonous puffball
Spathularia velutipes - (an Ascomycetes) on very damp and rotten wood
Stereum complicatum - on dead twigs and stumps of hardwood, esp. oak
Stereum ostrea - on dead wood
Strobilomyces floccopus "Old Man of the Woods" - on soil, edible
Suillus granulatus "Granulated Bolete" - under White Pine, edible, good
Suillus pictus - under White Pine, edible, choice
Suillus spp
Trametes versicolor "Turkey Tail" - on decaying hardwood
Tremella mesenterica - a jelly fungus on dead hardwood
Trichaptum biforme - on dead hardwood
Trichoglossum sp
Tylopilus indecisus
Tyromyces chioneus "Cheese Polypore" - on dead hardwood, not edible
Xeromphalina kauffmanii, on hardwood down wood

The following species were collected and identified on a 10 - 5 - 02 &10 - 6 - 02 forays into the Grove by R Hunsucker and the mycologist Bill Roody. An * indicates a species new to R. Hunsucker.

Agaricus comphelos - on soil
*Agrocybe firma - on soil
c Amanita citrina - on soil, poisonous to non - poisonous
Bisporella citrina - on rotting Hemlock and Beech
Chlorociboria aeruginascens - on rotting White Oak
Clitocybe clavipes - on soil
Collybia butyracea - on soil
c Collybia confluens - on leaf and needle debris, edible
c Collybia dryophila - on humus and deep leaf litter, poisonous
Coprinus micaceus - on rotting down wood
c Crepidotus applanatus - on dead hardwoods
Cystoderma granosum - on rotting Beech
Daccrymes palmatus - on rotting Hemlock
c Daedaliopsis confragosa - on dead wood and wounds of living trees
Dentinum repandum "Sweet Tooth" - on soil, edible, good
Enteridium splendens - on rotting wood
Entoloma sp - on soil
Fomitopsis cajander - on rotting Hemlock
Galerina autumnalis - on rotting Hemlock, Beech
Gymnopilus sapineus - on rotting Hemlock
Hericium americanum (syn Hericium coralloides ?) - on rotting Beech, birch, edible, good
Inonotus tomentosus - on soil under Hemlock
Lactarius deterrimus - on soil under Hemlock
Laetiporus sulphureus "Chicken of the Woods" - on hardwoods, edible, good
Leucopaxillus sp - on soil
Lepiota clypeolaria - on soil, poisonous
* Leucopholiota decorosa on rotting hardwoods
Lycoperdon molle - on soil, edible puffball
c Lycoperdon perlatum - on soil, edible puffball
Lycoperdon pyriforme - on rotting hardwoods, edible puffball
Mycena lilacifolia - on soil
Mycena pura - on soil, strong radish odor, edible
Naematoloma capnoides (syn Hypholoma capnoides) - on fallen conifers, edible with caution
c Panellus stipticus - on dead wood
Phlebia tremellosa - on rotting Beech and birch
c Pleurocybella porrigens (syn Pleurobellus porrigens) - on rotting Hemlock, edible
Pluteus admirabilis - on rotting White Oak, edible
Pluteus cervinus - on rotting Hemlock, Beech and White Oak
Polyporus brumalis - on rotting Yellow Birch, Beech
Polyporus mori (syn Favolis alveolaris) - on rotting White Oak, birch
Psathyrella sp - on soil
c Pseudohydnum gelatinosum - on rotting Hemlock, edible
c Scleroderma citrinum - on ground and rotting hardwoods. poisonous puffball
Scutellina umbrorum - on rotting Hemlock, Beech and soil
Strobilusus coniginoides -
on Magnolia acuminata "cones"
Stropharia thrausta - on soil
Torilis japonicus - exotic Apiaceae in same location as Cystopteris
Tremella faliacea - on rotting White Oak
Ustulina deusta - on rotting Hemlock and especially on Beech, maple and ash
Xeromphalina campanella - on decaying Hemlock
Xerula megalospora - on soil
Xylaria longipes

On comparing these two lists, we note that species growing on wood are about twice as frequent in the October, 2002 list as in that of August, 1996. This is probably largely attributable to the extreme drought conditions that prevailed in 2002, which may also explain the relatively small number of species found on the latter date, despite the presence of two experienced observers. By contrast, the period preceding the August, 1996 visit was one of considerable shower activity and cool temperatures, with July 4, 1996 the coolest ever experienced by this reporter (personal journal, R. F. Mueller). Another factor may be the lateness of the season on the October, 2002 visit, when a number of ground dwellers, such as the Amanitas, were past their prime season. It may illustrate the moisture - retaining properties of decayed wood (see our section on the Gaudineer Scenic Area), and also appears reflected in the occurrence, in this stand of primary coniferous forest, of a number of species requiring moist or damp soil.

Source Walk: 8-1-03

Our traverse this day, in late forenoon, had as its chief objective the collection of a suite of bryophytes in the most nutrient - rich part of the Grove, the mainstem bottom. Weather conditions were cool and overcast, with occasional drizzle, and followed a prolonged rainy period. While the herb and bryophyte floras were unusually luxuriant, with every rock and forest floor projection moss - covered, our spirits fell at the sight of the magnificent Hemlock, which were greatly defoliated by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae). Aspect had a very minor role in our collection. Although it was broadly south, the mean slope was gentle and the microtopography so rough that aspect varied greatly on this scale.

Our collection began in the vicinity of the trail, immediately west of the entrance on the high terrace, above where the stream mainstem enters the Grove. This was an area of low acidiphile herbaceous vegetation consisting of such species as Round - leaf Violet,. Partridge Berry and Intermediate Shield Fern. In what follows the habitats and habitat groups are numbered and their content of bryophyte taxa listed as collected and identified by R. Hunsucker. Liverworts are followed by the symbol (Li), and mosses constitute the rest.

#1 from soil and sandstone and siltstone rock:, along trail just southwest of the entrance:

Brachythecium oxycladon, Brachythecium rutabulum, Bryum sp, Campylium chrysophyllum, Dicranum fuscescens, Dicranum viride, Fissidens cristatus, Frullania asa - grayana (Li), Hypnum curvifolium, Isopterygiopsis muelleriana, Lejeunea lamacerina (Li), Mnium affine, Mnium cuspidatum, Platygyrium repens, Radula obconica (Li), Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Thuidium delicatulum, Tortella humilis

#2 from down wood on dissected terrace immediately to the southwest of the above:

Brachythecium oxycladon, Brotherella recurvans, Chiloscyphus profundus (Li), Dicranum montanum, Dicranum scoparium, Frullania asa - grayana (Li), Hypnum pallescens, Mnium affine, Mnium cuspidatum, Nowellia curvifolia (Li), Platygyrium repens, Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Tetraphis pellucida, Thuidium delicatulum

#3 from the bark of a standing, living Hemlock in the same general area as #2:

Bazzania trilobata (Li), Chiloscyphus profundus (Li), Dicranella heteromala, Dicranum viride, Hypnum pallescens, Isopterygiopsis muelleriana, platygyrium repens

#4 from the bark of standing, live Black Birch in the vicinity of the above:

Cololejeunea biddlecomiae (Li), Dicranum montanum, Dicranum scoparium, Frullania asa - grayana (Li), Hypnum curvifolium, Hypnum pallescens, Plagiochila asplenioides (Li), Plagiothecium laetum, Tetraphis pellucida

#5 from a dead and down Beech a little to the southwest of the above on dissected terrace:

Amblystegium varium, Campylium chrysophyllum, Dicranum viride, Entodon brevisetus,Frullania eboracensis (Li), Hypnum pallescens, Leucodon brachypus, Platygyrium repens, Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Thuidium delicatulum, Ulota crispa

Abundant Spotted Jewelweed was present here.

#6 from soil, humus and rock on the above dissected terrace:

Anomodon attenuatus, Atrichum undulatum, Brthnia graminicolor, Climacium americanum, Metzgeria furcata (Li), Mnium affine, Mnium cuspidatum, Thuidium delicatulum, Tortella humilis

#7 from rocks in a steeply - flowing springbrook from the northeast that trenched the terrace:

Amblystegium tenax, Brachythecium rutabulum, Fissidens bushii, Fissidens taxifolius, Hypnum curvifolium, Mnium cuspidatum, Mnium thomsonii, Orthotrichum sp

#8 from the bark of a dead, fallen White Oak from the above terrace area:

Anomodon attenuatus, Anomodon minor, Anomodon rostratus, Brachythecium sp, Bryum capillare, Entodon brevisetus, Leucodon brachypus, Porella platyphylla (Li), Pylaisiella selwynii

Observed here was tall luxuriant Wood Nettle, Clearweed and othe mesic herbs.

A soil sample was collected from a shallow depth between 10 cm siltstone flags that occupied most of the soil space. This soil appeared to be rich in well incorporated organic matter. pH values obtained for this soil were 5.2 and 5.3 initially and after 24 hours respectively. Note that these values are far higher than any obtained at the Hemlock forest of Cathedral State Park.

#9 from a large dead, down Hemlock adjacent to the above site on the west:

Amblystegium serpens, Brachythecium oxycladon, Brachythecium rutabulum, Bryhinia graminicolor, Chiloscyphus profundus (Li), Hypnum curvifolium, Mnium cuspidatum, Nowellia curvifolia (Li), Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Thuidium delicatulum

#10 from sandstone rocks and boulder in the same general area as the above:

Brotherella tenuirostris, Dicranum viride, Hylocomium brevirostre, Isopterygiopsis muelleriana, Metzgeria conjugata (Li), Plagiochila asplenioides (Li), Radula obconica (Li), Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Thuidium delicatulum, Tortella humilis

#11 from soil and roots on the bank of a springbrook in dissected terrace area, as the above:

Atrichum angustatum, Bazzania trilobata (Li), Brachythecium rutabulum, Dicranella heteromalla, Dicranum scoparium, Isopterygiopsis muelleriana, Leucobryum glaucum, Mnium affine var ciliare, Mnium hornum, Mnium punctatum

#12 from the bark of a live standing Hemlock in dissected terrace area, as the above:

Bazzania trilobata (Li), Brotherella recurvans, Dicranum montanum, Hypnum pallescens

#13 from the bark of a living Red Maple in the same general area as the above:

Anomodon attenuatus, Brachythecium oxycladon, Brachythecium sp, Bryhinia graminicolor, Cololejeunea biddlecomiae (Li), Frullania eboracensis (Li), Lejeunea lamacerina subsp geminata (Li), Metzgeria furcata (Li), Mnium affine, Mnium thomsonii, Neckera pennata, Platygyrium repens, Ulota crispa

#14 from soil over sandstone in the same general area as the above:

Bazzania trilobata (Li), Brachythecium sp, Brotherella recurvans, Dicranum fuscesens, Dicranum viride, Leucobryum glaucum, Metzgeria conjugata (Li), Plagiochila asplenioides, Thuidium delicatulum

#15 from the bark of a living White Oak adjacent to the foregoing:

Anomodon attenuatus, Brachythecium oxycladon, Brachythecium rutabulum, Eurhynchium pulchellum, Frullania riparia (Li), Mnium affine, Radula complanata (Li)

#16 from the bark of a living White Oak in the same general area as the foregoing:

Anomodon attenuatus, Brotherella recurvans, Bryhinia graminicolor, Cololejeunea biddlecomiae (Li), Hypnum pallescens, Metzgeria conjugata (Li), Platygyrium repens, Pottiaceae (unid.), Radula cf. tenax (Li), Rhynchostegium serrulatum

The following is a list of the frequencies of occurrence of the bryophyte taxa in the 16 habitats and habitat groups. It should be remembered however that some taxa, for which only the genus or no subspecies or variety are given, may be redundant.

7 Thuidium delicatulum
6 Hypnum pallescens
6 Platygyrium repens
6 Rhynchostegium serrulatum
5 Anomodon attenuatus
5 Brachythecium oxycladon
5 Brachythecium rutabulum
5 Dicranum viride
5 Mnium affine
5 Mnium cuspidatum
4 Bazzania trilobata
4 Brotherella recurvans
4 Bryhnia graminicolor
4 Dicranum montanum
4 Hypnum curvifolium
4 Isopterygiopsis muelleriana
3 Brachythecium sp
3 Chiloscyphus profundus (Li)
3 Cololejeunea biddlecomiae (Li)
3 Dicranum scoparium
3 Frullania asa - grayana (Li)
3 Metzgeria conjugata (Li)
3 Plagiochila asplenioides (Li)
3 Tortella humillis
2 Campylium chrysophyllum
2 Dicranella heteromalla
2 Dicranum fuscescens
2 Entodon brevisetus
2 Frullania eboracensis (Li)
2 Leucobryum glaucum
2 Leucodon brachypus
2 Metzgeria furcata (Li)
2 Mnium thomsonii
2 Nowellia curvifolia (Li)
2 Radula obconica (Li)
2 Tetraphis pellucida
2 Ulota crispa
1 Amblystegium serpens
1 Amblystegium tenax
1 Amblystegium varium
1 Anomodon minor
1 Anomodon rostratus
1 Atrichum angustatum
1 Atrichum undulatum
1 Brotherella tenuirostris
1 Bryum capillare
1 Brtum sp
1 Climacium americanum
1 Eurhynchium pulchellum
1 Fissidens bushii
1 Fissidens cristatus
1 Fissidens taxifolius
1 Frullania riparia (Li)
1 Hylocomium brevirostre
1 Lejeunea lamacerina (Li)
1 Lejeunea lamacerina subsp geminata (Li)
1 Mnium affine var ciliare
1 Mnium hornum
1 Mnium punctatum
1 Neckera pennata
1 Orthotrichum sp
1 Plagiothecium laetum
1 Porella platyphylla (Li)
1 Pottiaceae (unid)
1 Pylaisiella selwynii
1 Radula complanata (Li)
1 Radula cf. tenax

In our previous studies of Central Appalachian forest types our major objectives were 1) the determination of possible consistency between climatic, substrate and topographic influences and the floras, and 2) the internal consistency of the vascular and nonvascular floras and in some cases the fungi as well. In such examples as the Cathedral State Park, Tea Creek, Chimney Hollow, Reddish Knob, Ramsey's Draft, North River and other forest types, some fairly clear and consistent relations of these kinds were found. The unusually high nutrient soils and rich flora for a forest dominated by Hemlock at Fanny Bennett, are referred to above and elsewhere (Mueller, 1998). While both Cathedral State Park and Fanny Bennett are old growth primary forests and bear a certain resemblance to each other in terms of their canopy species, they are very unlike in terms of nutrient availability, soil pH and floral diversity. While both forests are underlain by siliceous rocks with an expected acid reaction, at Fanny Bennett this is countered by the fluvial influence of the Greenbrier Limestone upstream. Thus pH values at Cathedral were uniformly low and the floras acidiphile and depauperate except where under the influence of human - introduced nutrients. Although only one soil pH value was determined at Fanny Bennett, this value is far higher than those of Cathedral and is consistent with the flora, which contains a number of calciphile vascular species. If we now consider the bryophyte flora of the richest bottomland forest types at Fanny Bennett, we see parallel relationships. First we note that the four most frequent species at Cathedral, Brotherella recurvans, Tetraphis pellucida., Bazzania trilobata and Nowellia curvifolia are considerably less frequent at Fanny Bennett but are still conspicuous, attesting to certain similarities, such as a cool, humid environment that favors northern and montane species. Perhaps the greatest difference is shown by Platygyrium repens, which has a low frequency at Cathedral, but is prominent at Fanny Bennett. According to Crum and Anderson ( 1981) this moss occurs in a wide variety of habitats but is rarely found on acid rocks. This antipathy, while perhaps not indicating a strong affinity for alkaline substrates, is consistent with the higher pH and calciphile flora at Fanny Bennett. Similarly, these characteristics account for the relatively demoted frequency of the strongly acidiphile Tetraphis pellucida in the latter forest. A number of the most common species here are widely distributed in a variety of habitats in eastern North America (Crum and Anderson, 1981). Examples are Thuidium delicatulum, Hypnum pallescens, Rhynchostegium serrulatum, Anomodon attenuatus, Brachythecium oxycladon and Tortella humilis. Mnium punctatum, a species characteristic of cool seepy areas, appears in only one habitat here, in association with a springbrook, but is more frequent at Chimney Hollow in which several seeps were inventoried. It may be that in many cases the immediate substrate on which a bryophyte occurs is not the sole chemical influence since such substrates may be linked to surrounding soils, rock and organic matter by water films that have the capacity to transfer ions and other nutrients.

A further comparison with Chimney Hollow and a diverse occurrence of bryophytes at Bad Branch in Kentucky (Risk, 1998) may cast further light on the Fanny Bennett community. The Bad Branch occurrence, like that of Chimney Hollow is dominated by siliceous, acidic substrates with no calcareous inputs, and shares a strong boreal component. Of the 68 bryophyte taxa at Chimney Hollow, 61 are mosses, and of these 38. or 62 %, are also found at Bad Branch. At Fanny Bennett 67 bryophyte taxa include 51 mosses, of which only 28, or 55% occur at Bad Branch. Given the paucity of data and differences in these occurrences, not too much should be made of this comparison; yet it is consistent with the other data.

The bryophyte suite discussed above likely falls short - perhaps far short - of that for the entire Grove. An indication is our 8 - 10 - 96 inventory during which we recorded Plume Moss (Ptilium crista - castrensis ) and Mountain Fern Moss (Hylocomium splendens) on the west prong bottom in what may have been a somewhat more acidic, but still nutrient - rich environment. It is also likely that a survey of the dryer upland forest of the northeast ridge would produce a somewhat different suite of bryophytes.


Cardwell, Dudley H., Robert B. Erwin, Herbert P. Woodward and Charles W.Lotz (1968) Geologic Map of West Virginia, slightly revised 1986. West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Crum, Howard A. and Lewis E. Anderson (1981) Mosses of Eastern North America. In two Volumes. Columbia University Press. New york, N. Y.

Miller, Orson K. Jr. (1979) Mushrooms of North America. E. P. Dutton, New York, New York.

Mueller, R. F. (1989) Exploring Nature's Multidimensional Space, the Forest Example. Forests of the Central Appalachians Project, Virginians for Wilderness Web Site.

Phillips, Roger (1991) Mushrooms of North America. Little, Brown and Co., Boston, Mass.

Risk, Allen C., (1998) Moss Flora of Bad Branch, Letcher County, Kentucky. Castanea 63 (2): 117 - 129.

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