Sourland Mountain Preserve, Somerset County, NJ

Information on the Sourland Mountain Preserve:   general information

Map of trails at Sourland Mountain Preserve:   trail map

October 13, 2017: 

It was finally a cool autumn day and we wanted to just get out and enjoy the fresh air and the wooods. We knew that there would be hardly any flowers in bloom but we went anyway. 

With Hubert there is always something out there to see. 

Sourland Mountain Preserve

Ebony spleenwort Asplenium platyneuronEbony spleenwort Asplenium platyneuron
Photos on the left: We found ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) clinging to the side of a boulder. The second photo shows the leaflets and the pattern of the sporangia on the undersides of the leaflets.

After inspecting a bunch of moist rotten logs we came across some slime molds. 

Slime molds form giant amoebae (single multi-nucleate cells) that amazingly can spread out to 30 feet and live in leaf litter and in rotten logs. They turn into fruiting bodies when the amoebae run out of food or conditions become unfavorable for growth. 

The two photos on the right show the fruiting structures of Trichia decipiens. They are about 1/8 inch or smaller. The lower photo shows a fruiting structure being parasitized by a fungus. 

The left photo below is the fruiting structure of Arcyria cinerea and is less than an 1/8 inch tall.

The right photo below is the fruiting structure of Lycogala epidendrum and is about 1/4 inch. It differs from a puff ball because of the surface warts and the small size. 

Slime mold Trichia decipiens
Slime mold Trichia decipiens
Slime mold  Arcyria cinerea
Slime mold  Arcyria cinerea

Spicebush Lindera benzoin
Much of the understory was spicebush (Lindera benzoin) which provided some color – green and yellow leaves and bright red oblong drupes. For more information and photos see our spring photo gallery

We also came across an American chestnut that was about 25 feet with no signs of blight at the base.

Unfortunately we saw more deer than one would expect.

It was a beautiful walk and no mosquitoes.

Hope you will visit the Sourland Mountain Preserve.

H & M Ling.