Paramecium Pond

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 country skier!

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.




Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005