Laying in bed all day ... wetbeds, that is!

Last week, our stewardship interns Austin and Kristen went out to the wetbeds at the Bladensburg Wetlands (ANA-11) to plant a bunch of the wild rice and other wetland plants we collected over the fall. We plan on using all 19 wetbeds that we installed last year with Lori's Chesapeake Bay Trust grant award (the All Hands On Deck project, another of which I will be leading in a couple months! Details to come.). Most of our beds will fill with wild rice, as well as arrow arum and pickerelweed.

 
Two of our interns this spring, Kristen and Austin from University of Maryland College Park, preparing trays and planting wild rice seedlings.

This season, we plan to revegetate a lot of wetlands throughout the watershed -- mostly along the tidal river -- with these native plants. As Jorge and I were reminded the other day at a lecture by Doug Tallamy, native plants such as this wild rice, pickerelweed, and arrow arum provide food and habitat for native insects and other species, which ripple all the way up the food chain. We look forward to bringing some wild rice to a wetland near you!


A wetbed full of wild rice.

Here are the different plants at their fullest:


Pictured above are pickerelweed (top) and arrow arum, also known as tuckahoe (bottom).

Both of these plants are great wetland species, growing up to three feet tall and providing great habitat for insects and fish (hence the name pickerelweed -- named after the species of pike that explore its gardens. Arrow arum flowers from May to July, and pickerelweed from June to September. They have very similar leaves, but arrow arum's leaves are more distinctly pointy on the bottom lobes -- hence the name. Arrow arum's roots were traditionally eaten by indigenous peoples, similarly to potatoes, but often needs to be double-boiled to remove any toxins. (Especially in this watershed! Also known as "don't try this at home.")

If you have other questions on native wetland plants, leave a comment on our blog, and we can connect you to a vast variety of resources -- or just answer the questions ourselves!

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