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Cedar Glades & Barrens
The Cedar Glades of the central basin of Tennessee represent an ecosystem unique in the world. Flat areas of usually broken limestone that may be bare or overlaid thin soil they form open areas in the surrounding forest that are the home to many unique and sometimes very rare species. Very wet in wet weather and very dry in dry weather about the only large trees that have a chance of gaining a foothold here are Eastern Red Cedars, Junipers virginiana and they are mostly confined to the edges. The areas where the glades are found are karst, riddled with caves, so except in very wet weather the streams mostly run underground leaving the surface parched much of the year.

Historically few people have appreciated these areas except as places to quarry stone and they have often been, and still are, used as dump sites. Simple minded people with off road vehicles continue to do huge damage to the fragile plants and thin soils despite efforts to protect them.

Here are a few images from the Cedar Glades. I hope to add many more in the future.


Pyne's Ground Plum
Pyne's Groung Plum
Astragalus bibullatus
(Species)
Astragalus bibullatus is perhaps one of the rarest plants on the planet. Now known only from a few very small locations in central Tennessee. It was noticed and collected by the Tennessee doctor and botanist Augustin Gattinger, who, along with George Dury fled Germany in the 1800s, but the locations he may have found it in have been distroyed. It was rediscovered and identified as a new species by Milo Pyne in 1988.
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Tennessee Milk Vetch
Tennessee Milk Vetch
Astragalus tennesseensis
(Species)
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Dalea foliosa, Flower
Leafy Prairie Clover
Dalea foliosa (Gray) Barneby
(Species)
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Tennessee Coneflower, Group
Tennessee Coneflower
Echinacea tennesseensis
(Species)
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White Spider On Tennessee Coneflower
Tennessee Coneflower
Echinacea tennesseensis
(Species)
Whitebanded Crab Spider
Misumenoides formosipes
(Species)
The flower that this spider seems to be guarding was considered extinct in the 1960s. It has been rediscovered and re- planted in many areas. It is found only in the cedar glades of the central basin of Tennessee. This photo was taken in the largest know natural population of the species at Tennessee's Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area.
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Tennessee Coneflower, Echinacea tennesseensis - Habit
Tennessee Coneflower
Echinacea tennesseensis
(Species)
This showy coneflower grows only in the shallow soil of cedar glades. It was considered extinct in the 1960s but has been rediscovered and re-planted in many areas. This one is in the largest natural stand of this spieces which is now protected as the Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area near Nashville Tennessee.
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Tennessee Coneflowers At Couchville Cedar Glade
Tennessee Coneflower
Echinacea tennesseensis
(Species)
Gray-Headed Coneflower
Ratibida pinnata
(Species)
This is the largest natural population of Tennessee Coneflowers, Echinacea tennesseensis in the world. Only about half the scene is pictured.
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Fossils In Limestone
The Lebanon Limestone that underlies the Cedar Glades of Tennessee is composed almost entirely of creatures that lived in a shallow sea more than 400 million years ago during the Ordovician Period. At one time this layer was covered by hundreds of feet of other sediments which has since eroded away leaving this layer of flat rock exposed.
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Rose Vervain
Rose Vervain
Glandularia canadensis
(Species)
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Gnarly Cedar Tree Clings To Life
Eastern Red Cedar
Junipers virginiana
(Species)
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Heartwood of Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern Red Cedar
Junipers virginiana
(Species)
This is why Red Cedar is so named (the fact that it is Juniper not a Cedar not withstanding). This tree had been recently split by the wind and in time the sun will fade the color to gray.

The red heart wood is extremely resistant to most forms of decay and repels most insects making it excellent for fence post and chests made form this light, strong wood are not only attractive but will protect woolens from moths. In central Tennessee log cabins were often made from the trunks as were pencils. Very old cedar salvaged from buildings is a favorite wood for many wood carvers. Since the wood is easy to cleave it was very popular for wood workers in the pre-industrial age and was fashioned into all types of furniture

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Eastern Red Cedar Male Flowers
Eastern Red Cedar
Junipers virginiana
(Species)
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Cedar Gladecress With Yellow Flowers
Cedar Gladecress
Leavenworthia stylosa
(Species)
This is the yellow version of this small but very fragrant flower. They also come in a version that has white flowers with yellow centers and the white is sometimes tinged with lavender. Blooming in mass in the early spring they can sometimes be found blooming in mid winter if there are a few days of warm weather. They thrive in the almost soil less rocky glade areas of the central basin of Tennessee which extends into Kentucky and Alabama.
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Gattinger's lobelia Flower Spike, Lobelia appendiculata A. DC. var. gattingeri
Gattinger's lobelia
Lobelia appendiculata A. DC. var. gattingeri (Gray) McVaugh
(Species)
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Witch's Butter
Witch's Butter
Nostoc commune
(Species)
This cyanobacteria forms mats on the rocks of cedar glades. In wet weather it is the jelly like mass you see here but when dry it is brittle and black.
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False Gromwell
False Gromwell
Onosmodium molle Michx. ssp. molle
(Species)
Onosmodium molle is sometimes found on the edges of glade areas.
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Engelmann's Adder's-tougue Fern
Engelmann's Adder's-tougue Fern
Ophioglossum engelmannii
(Species)
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Gattinger's Prairie Clover And Prickly Pear
Gattinger's Prairie Clover
Dalea gattingeri
(Species)
Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia humifusa
(Species)
The yellow and red flowers of the Prickly Pear are found in many areas but Gattinger's Prairie Clover is common only in rocky glades.
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Flatworm
Flatworm
Dugesia tigrina
(Species)
Flatworm
Planariidae
(Family)
Flatworm
Tricladida
(Order)
Flatworm
Turbellaria
(Class)
This little Flatworm is about 1cm long and lives in the freshwater of a small seasonal stream in a Cedar Glade. (The species may be Dugesia tigrina which is common in the U. S.) Flatworms are usually carnivores and most Flatworms are benthos which means they live in the benthic zone which is the lowest ecological region of a body of water and includes the sediment layer. Flatworms seem very simple animals having no heart, lungs or anus but the do have a brain and if you look closely at the photo you can see the ocelli or eye spots. Ocelli are sensitive to light but do not form images or even determine the direction of the light. Respiration is by diffusion through the surface of the body so they must be thin. The reproductive system is fairly complex as they are hermaphroditic but do copulate, however, they can also reproduce by division. They simply contract at the midpoint until they separate into two bodies. This asexual reproduction occurs at warmer temperatures (above 10 degrees C) while at cooler temperature they reproduce sexually. Many Flatworms can be cut into pieces and each piece will form a new Flatworm. Additionally the head may be split to produce a creature with multiple heads. There are thousands of different species of Flatworms ranging in size from less than 1mm long to over 50cm. Some species live in sea water, some in fresh water and a few live in moist terrestrial environments. Most are free swimming carnivores but some are parasitic.
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Little Bluestem Flowers
Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium
(Species)
Displayed at life size this image would be about 2cm tall.
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Sunnybells
Sunnybells
Schoenoliroion croceum
(Species)
This rare flower is known only from the south eastern U.S. and can sometime be found in grassy glades where there is at least a little soil and there is ample moisture during the spring.
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Pale Blue-eyed Grass
Pale Blue-eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium albidum
(Species)
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© 2008 Daniel W Reed
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