Today I'll be discussing some of the trees, moss, fern - and "creatures" - that have a symbiotic relationship with some of our trees. Overall, it all provides a very beautiful picturesque scene on Monmouth’s front lawn, and has for many, many years.
On the left and right of the front porch are centuries old “live oak” trees. They are called live oaks because they always appear to be live. They lose their leaves seasonally, but the old green leaves are pushed off by new green leaves. The leaves don’t turn brown until they're on the ground. Thus, the tree appears green year round.
Live Oaks was also the name of one of John Quitman's first plantations, and we've named a suite after it - Suite #40 - in our ever-popular Plantation Suites Building. Here are a few pictures of that room:
On the limbs of the live oak trees is what's known as “resurrection fern,” and it lives off the moisture in the bark of the tree. When we haven't had rain for a few days the fern turns brown, curls up and appears dead. After a shower (usually by the next day) the fern turns green and lush again.
Spanish Moss is evident in most of the trees you see from our front porch. Moss is an epiphyte, not a parasite. It doesn't harm the trees unless too much gets on the tree. It's transferred from tree to tree by birds, and grows and lives on the moisture in the air.
The tree directly in front - down by the entrance to the Main House - is a Catalpa Tree. It blooms in late April with a beautiful cluster of white blossoms. The Catalpa worm spends its entire life cycle on a Catalpa tree. The worm emerges from the ground around the base of the tree as a moth, then lays eggs on the underside of the leaf. It then turns into a caterpillar and eats the leaves of the tree. Next, they drop down into the soil under the tree. These caterpillars are highly prized as fish bate.
Until next time, happy travels and be sure to visit and enjoy our front lawn, and its shade and beauty. Be sure to come round sometime to see if you can find some Catalpa caterpillars to use for fish bate!