Field Notes

aquatic plants observed at Punderson State Park

Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio

Wetlands Walk at Punderson State Park

8 August 2018

narrative by Judy Bradt-Barnhart

After a break in the recent high humidity, twenty-five people gathered around a picnic table on a beautiful evening overlooking Punderson Lake, where Judy Barnhart shared a glacial geology map explaining the glacial origins of Punderson Lake and the surrounding kame and kettle area. As the glaciers were retreating, two lobes of the glaciers, one in the Grand River lowlands to the east and the other in the Cuyahoga River lowlands to the west, began melting. Isolated blockes of ice were buried by sand and gravel deposits in the Geauga and Portage County areas. Today, the isolated blocks of ice remain as glacial lakes or kettles with Punderson being the largest.

The glacial lakes are slowly filling in with wetland vegetation, native and invasive. Punderson State Park's new board walk constructed beginning in 2016 follows along the edge of the south shore of the lake. Due to recent maintenance on the stairs down by the lodge, the group headed to the cabin area to take the accessible ramp to the board walk.

Punderson State Park Wetlands Walk

After walking through towering black walnut trees on the kettle edge, we reached to wetland edge.

Shrubs included:

  • silky dogwood;
  • buttonbush with its honey smelling flowers; and
  • swamp loosestrife which arches into the lake rooting at the tip causing the vegetation to expand inward.

Emergent plants identified included:

  • the confusing arrow-shaped arrowhead;
  • pickerelweed; and
  • arrow arum.

Both mild water pepper and swamp smartweed were growing side by side for easier comparison.

Invasives pointed out included cattail and purple loosestrife.

Several floating leaved aquatics were blooming:

  • white water-lily and
  • spatterdock.

Submerged plants identified included:

  • water milfoil (not pictured) and
  • coon's tail.

While standing in the open area of the lake two ospreys were circling overhead with one diving into the lake after a fish several yards out.

Other plants observed growing along the boardwalk:

  • umbrella sedge;
  • bugleweed (not pictured);
  • great water dock;
  • cardinal flower;
  • swamp rose; and
  • swamp milkweed (not pictured) with
    monarch butterflies floating nearby.

Covering many of the wetland plants was orange dodder, a parasitic plant with root-like nodules that penetrate the host plant for nutrients.

Before climbing the hill back up to the lodge, bur-reed, bladderwort, and water pennywort, a listed plant but commonly found at Punderson Lake, were pointed out.

dodder bur reed bladderwort water pennywort water pennywortThank you for viewing!

Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, Wetlands Walk at Punderson State Park created 1.ix.2018
narrative: Judy Barnhart; layout & photographs: Lisa K. Schlag