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pasture lands, Muscari botryoides occurs sparingly, and such other vernal herbs as Bicuculla cucullaria, Chelidonium majus, Asarum canadense, and Erythronium americanum are scattered in the woods.
THE BLUE RIDGE AXIS.
Forming the western boundary of the Middletown Valley, the Blue Ridge extends from Weverton to the Pennsylvania line near Pen Mar. This,forms a larger and more rugged elevation at Weverton where the Potomac has cut across it than does the Catoctin ridge at Point of Rocks.
At Weverton a small stream, Israel Creek, flows into the Potomac, and in the deep shade of the bluffs along the lower part of its course some species not previously noted were found. Near the river at the side of the railroad is a high ledge of rock, upon which some plants were found which were not seen elsewhere. These include the following: Asplenium pinnatifidum, Asplenium platyneuron, Eupatorium altissimum, Asplenium trichomanes, Polymnia canadensis, Ulmus fulva, together with rank-growing weeds which occupy the talus from the,shale and sandstone cliffs. The Yellow Locust, the Chestnut Oak and the Sugar Maple are the principal cliff talus trees, with the Red Bud as under-shrub. Jmpatiens biflora, and Arisaema triphyllum are present among the more succulent herbaceous growth.
Along the cliff-like banks of the stream, there are a few spots of deep soil deposited by the water in sheltered places. In these many of the trees are located, and some of the ranker of the herbaceous types. Thus the Black Gum, Buttonwood and Box Elder are associated with the shrubs Benzoin benzoin, Hamamelis virginiana and Viburnum acerifolium. In the broader places where the stream runs somewhat parallel to the direction of the shale in which it is now flowing, there is a small floodplain developed, on which there is a fine stand of trees, mainly of the same species as already mentioned. But in addition to these, the chief components of the woods, ithere are a few individuals of the Hemlock, the Sweet Birch, the White Ash, the Butternut, the River Birch, the Black, Chestnut and White Oaks, and the Tulip Tree is also present .in well developed trees.
Along the cliffs themselves, there are alternating bands of more or less poor soil formed by the varying proportions of undecomposed rock and humus. Upon the poorer exposures such plants as Sedum ternatum occur, with Saxifriga virginiensis, Veronica ofjicinalis, Mitchclla repens, with Dryopteris achrosticlioides, Botrycliium virginianum, and Adiantum pedatum as the soil ferns, Polypodium Kulgare, and Camptosorpus rhizophyllus as the rock-inhabiting forms. Celastrus scandens was here noted, and the following species not common elsewhere were recorded:
In the area more closely adjacent to the Potomac, there were in addition to those just mentioned: Mollugo verticillata, Euphorbia nutans, Scirpus americana, Ceplialanthus occidentalis and Asclepian pulehra. In the shallows of the river, where the earth was exposed at low-water periods, or was just below the surface under the ordinary conditions, the Water Willow (Dianthera americana) grows in considerable abundance.
While considering the conditions along the Potomac, it will be simplest to include the next point of botanical interest, and then to follow the forest along the Blue Ridge to the upper end at Pen Mar. A ridge somewhat separated from the main elevation crosses the Potomac just east of Harpers Ferry, and forms. the gorge through which the combined flow of the Shenandoah and the Potomac passes eastward. Elk Ridge is the Maryland termination of the Blue Ridge mountain in Virginia which extends for a few miles northward from the river, much as the Catoctin ridge ends at some distance from the Potomac on the Virginia side. The elevation which forms the Blue Ridge of Maryland and Pennsylvania runs from Weverton to Pen Mar and thence onward into the latter state. A considerable valley which is drained by Israel Creek, mentioned just above, separates the two ridges at the river. The valley at its mouth is narrow and steep, but a short distance back from the river the south end of the Hagerstown Valley meets the smaller valley of Israel Creek, which thus widens its area of farming land.
The plants to be found upon Elk Ridge differ to some extent upon the east and west slopes, but how far the difference is due to natural variations of soil, and how much is artificial and due to the secondary conditions of difficulty or ease in exploiting the forest of the steeper and of the gentler slopes, cannot easily be determined. The rock exposures on the west slope are steeper and more broken than on the east slope, in those portions of the ridge which have been seen. This is clearly shown at the river section of the Ridge, where the upper Potomac gives to the west face a steepness absent from the other side. The crest is of sandstone as in the case of the ridge at Weverton, the valley between the two ridges is of igneous rock, and the slope toward the Potomac on the west side is largely shale, and is carved by small tributaries into recurring hills and valleys running from the river toward the crest.
The forest cover of the Elk Ridge area is of the oak-chestnut type, and includes among the oak species the following: Quercus prinus, velutina, rubra, marylandica, alba, minor, acuminata, palustris.
The Chestnut is common, and the Black Walnut, the Black Gum, the Mockernut Hickory, the Wild Black Cherry, the Tulip Tree, the Elm and the Yellow Locust reaching the size of large trees. Among the species of pine there were noted the Scrub Pine, the Pitch Pine and the Table Mountain Pine; the presence of White Pine was not noted.
Along the shale outcrops of the west face there are a number of small shallow ravines in which the moisture conditions are better than in other places, and in such there is often an abundant development of the Paw Paw. Along the road following the west side of the ridge this is noticeable. Near the river are the usual riverside trees, like the River Birch, Honey Locust, Mulberry and Box Elder. On the upper and drier parts of the Ridge, Kalmia. Juniperus, Cornus and Cercis are frequent, and Viburnum prunifolium is also to be found. Of the herbaceous vegetation the following species were found to be the chief forms present:
The species of ferns which were noted were the following:
Of these Asplenium trichomanes, Asplenium ruta-muraria and Pellea were .restricted to a few small outcrops of limestone, along the west slope of the ridge.
In the damp places, where there was less of forest cover 'Lobelia cardinalis and Mimulus ringens are found in frequent association, and Lobelia syphilitica-is usually present.
The Main Axis.—The greater elevation of the hody of the Blue Ridge, gives portions of that area a drier character :than on the less elevated Elk Ridge, but the character of forest does not differ to any considerable degree until the northern end of the Ridge is approached where there is a tendency toward greater moisture through higher rainfall. The upper portions of both ridges are covered with a nearly continuous forest, but extensive clearings for planting of peach orchards, makes the general appearance of the woodland ragged. The forest fires have also done damage, but:there is not as yet the fire type of growth such as was -noted for the top of Catoctin, where the Bear Oak was so conspicuous a feature of the region. The valley lands are mostly in good cultivation, but on the higher slopes the soil is often only roughly cleared, and poorly cared for, resulting in a persistent crop of brambles (Rubus sp. and Smilax) with scattering Sassafras. Under the same conditions such rank weeds as the Phytolacca decandra, Datura stramonium, Echium vulgare, Chenopodium album, Solanum carolinense are found in considerable abundance.
Roadsides.—Along the roads where there are scattered trees, very often of the Black Locust, there are occasional clumps of the Sweet Sumach which closely resembles its poisonous relatives, the "Poison Ivy," but has more hairy twigs and fruit. Anthemis cotula is a common plant where there has been considerable traffic, and Malva rotundifolia occurs about the dooryards of the farm-houses. Near the barns and other buildings Xanthium spinosum is not rare, and Dipsacus sylvestris is scattered along the pikes. The roadside grass is a feature of the herbaceous vegetation both in the Hagerstown and in the Frederick Valleys. It extends as a turf from the fields to the actual roadway of the pikes and other roads, even in thin soils. This cover of Poa pratensis when not cut and broken by