PAUL SMITHS — Students taking Professor Daun Reuter’s Field Botany course (FOR 399) during the summer session at Paul Smiths College (PSC) learned to identify wild native plants before harvesting several wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and club mosses onsite and transplanting them into the native plant garden at the entrance to the PSC Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC).
The PSC VIC native plant garden is the result of a collaborative effort of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Franklin County, Paul Smiths College, the Visitors Information Center, the Adirondack Botanical Society, CCE Master Gardener Volunteers and Franklin County 4H Youth.
Besides learning about native plants, the students, Jeremy Anna, Robert Kacir, Steve Rathbun, William Salin, Anthony Streams and Gerald Zorechak, worked with Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Invasive Plants Program (APIPP) intern Dan Dohman, who taught the students about invasive species of plants within the Adirondack Park and their impacts upon native plant communities.
The group later helped Dohman locate and remove garlic mustard from the DEC campground at Cranberry Lake. Garlic mustard is a cool-season, biennial-flowering plant in the Brassicaceae, or mustard family, native to parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Garlic mustard often aggressively outcompetes native North American wildflowers (i.e. bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, hepatica, trillium), which occur in the same habitat, denying wildlife essential food sources such as pollen, fruit and seeds. Garlic mustard is also allelopathic, producing chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants and mychorrizal fungi needed for healthy tree growth and tree seedling survival.