Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Urban Wetland Surprises: Denver’s Parkfield Park

By Bernadette Kuhn, CNHP Botanist

We recently visited Parkfield Park as part of our EPA-funded wetland assessment project in Denver County. Much to our delight it was teeming with dragonflies, aquatic insects, and waving bulrushes. Our crew of botanists jumped up and down when we discovered floating mats of the world’s smallest flowering plant. The mats were made up of thousands of Wolffia columbiana that creating swirly lime-green patterns on the water. Ralph Brooks collected the only known Colorado specimen of W. columbiana from Yuma County in 1980. We collected voucher specimens to distribute to regional herbaria.

David Leatherman holds a green dragonfly with Billy Bunch (EPA), while
 Laura Cascardi and Bernadette Kuhn get distracted by plants.
Photo by Pam Smith.
Tiny, almost granular Wolffia columbiana plants (indicated by white arrows)
are dwarfed by duckweed, Lemna minor. Photo by B. Kuhn.

A Woodhouse’s toadlet at Parkfield Park. Photo by Pam Smith.
Blog readers stay tuned! We will be posting more photos of our Denver urban wetland work throughout the winter. 

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