Of course, the most recognizable trees by this wetland habitat
of Paramecium Pond are the white
birches growing across the water. What Wellesley viewbook
hasn't carried a photo of these beautiful trees? White birch
bark is papery and delicate, and is used by many birds to line
their nests. If you peel it, though, it won't grow back and the
tree will suffer. To the right of the birches is a species that's
very colorful in winter, the red osier dogwood.
Though it's obviously leafless now, its branches are a brilliant
red. Like all dogwoods, it has opposite branches that form Y
shapes. Here's a rush growing right by the pond, and it's green
even in winter. Rushes differ from grasses and sedges in that
their fruits are capsules.
The frozen pond is home to several kinds of hibernating animals
like turtles and frogs.
These cold-blooded animals bury themselves in the mud, lower
their body temperatures and heart rates, and basically shut down
for the winter.
As we continue past the pond, you'll notice the flaming red
fruits of the winterberry holly. Songbirds eat the berries. You
might wonder why so many berries haven't yet been eaten. Well,
all of these berry-bearing plants rely on birds to disperse their
seeds, so their berries ripen at different times, to ensure that
only a few plants have mature berries at any one time. This gives
the berries a greater chance of being dispersed.
The tracks we see out here aren't always from wild animals;
this set heading into the arboretum is from an ambitious cross
We will now recross College Road and head up the stairs by Pendleton
West, then the stairs between Pendleton and Jewett, and we'll
stop in the Academic Quad.