Vine Finding on a Fine Afternoon

Tree Stewards, trainees and other environmentalists headed out along Holmes Run in Alexandria Sunday to find native and invasive vines after learning how to distinguish them from a slide lecture by noted naturalist Rod Simmons.

First stop outside Beatley Library was an American elm (Ulmus americana) bursting with light-green ripening fruits on the bank of the old Holmes Run channel.

Tree Stewards and other environmentalists admire an American elm laden with light-green seeds. Photo by R.H. Simmons
Tree Stewards and others admire an American elm laden with light-green seeds. Photo by R.H. Simmons
Detail of American elm fruit. Photo by Jo Allen
Detail of American elm fruit, above, pointed out by Rod Simmons, hand raised, below. Photos by Jo Allen
Rod Simmons, hand raised, describes the elm fruit.
Porcelainberry's wiry tendrils dig into tree bark as the vine climbs.
Invasive porcelainberry’s wiry tendrils coil around branches, digging into tree bark as the vine climbs. Nearby, an Eastern rat snake, sunning itself near the sidewalk, found the group disturbing and slithered off.
Several wild grape vines (Vitis spp.) have co-evolved with native trees and grow up with the trees, draping themselves over limbs as they reach for sunlight. Unlike invasive English ivy (Hedera helix), with green leaves on the same tree, grapes and other native vines do not harm tree bark.
Several wild grape vines (Vitis spp.) have co-evolved with native trees and grow up with the trees, draping themselves over limbs as they reach for sunlight. Unlike invasive English ivy (Hedera helix), with green leaves on the same tree, grapes and other native vines do not harm tree bark.
A native grape vine loops over a tree branch on the north bank of Holmes Run.
A native grape vine loops over a tree branch on the north bank of Holmes Run.
On the north bank of Holmes Run, a beaver felled a tree and gnawed off the lower bark.
On the north bank of Holmes Run, a beaver felled a tree and gnawed off the lower bark.

About TreeStewards

TreeStewards of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, are trained volunteers who work to protect, preserve, and enhance urban tree canopy through public education and volunteer activities such as planting, pruning, and caring for trees.
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