Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – Part 2
You can almost always see Mallards at the Wildfowl Pond as well as the American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Western Gull, Mew Gull, Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot. Larger birds that are fairly common are the Great Egret, the Double-crested Cormorant and the Great Blue Heron — which I have spotted at the Wildfowl Pond. While I was unable to get a picture, the image of the large bird flaring up over a small island is burned into my memory.
Smaller birds that you are likely to encounter while visiting Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens include the Dark-eyed Junco, Black Phoebe, White-crowned Sparrow, Varied Thrush and the Song Sparrow. Plaques near the pond help to identify these birds, with illustrations, breeding and eating habits and other information.
Plants in the Primitive Plant Garden have adapted and evolved over time, though some so closely resemble extinct relatives that they are often called “living fossils.” Representatives of most non-extinct major groups from the Plant Kingdom are represented in the garden.
It’s here in the Primitive Plant Garden, at the north end of the Wildfowl Pond, that you can view examples of Lichen — which actually consist of two life forms: a photosynthetic partner (green algae or blue-green bacteria) and a fungus — Liverworts, Moss — a plant lacking true roots, so it must absorb water and nutrients through the plant’s surfaces — and Club Moss and Spike Moss — neither of which are true mosses and whose ancient predecessors included giant tree-sized plants.
The Primitive Plant garden is where you will also find several types of Ferns which generally have large, complex leaves called fronds which expand from rolled-up “fiddleheads” and Conifers (cone bearing plants) — which were more diverse during the Mesozoic era (the Age of Dinosaurs) and today include pine, cypress, spruce, fir, larch, cedar, juniper, yew, podocarpus and redwood. The Hoyt Arboretum in Portland has one of the nations largest conifer collections.
Continuing around the raised wooden walkway in the Primitive Plant garden you discover the Cycads — a group that also reproduces by seeds in cones, but have hardened leaves that resemble those of palms. Cycads are an endangered species. The last three qroups of plants found in the Primitive Plant Garden are the Horsetails, Ginko — the last surviving species of a once large and wide-spread division of the plant kingdom — and finally Flowering Plants — the most geologically modern group in this exhibit.